Bengal govt urges operators to run more buses
The state government on Sunday urged private bus and minibus operators to ensure more buses from Monday when more people will be out on the roads as offices, malls and restaurants open.
Some private operators, however, insisted on an immediate fare revision before rolling out more buses and minibuses.
At a meeting with private operators on Sunday, transport department officials asked bus owners to let them know in writing why they wanted a fare hike while explaining income and expenditure. But before that bus owners should ensure more buses on the roads from Monday, officials told the operators at the meeting.
Several operators said they would try and run additional buses but the demand-supply gap would still remain.
Close to 9,000 private buses operate in Calcutta and neighbouring areas. Since June 1, 700-odd buses have been on the roads, leaving people waiting at bus stops. Transport officials said they would run around 1,100 buses from Monday, scaling up the fleet strength by almost 400 more buses.
“We will try and bring out more buses… most buses require mechanical overhauling and owners don’t have money to do that,” Rahul Chatterjee of Bus Minibus Samonnoy Samity said. “We have told the government that all buses won’t be out on the roads in the absence of a fare hike.”
“Several workers are still reluctant to resume duty. Owners haven’t seen enough returns to feel enthused to run more buses,” Pradip Narayan Bose of West Bengal Bus Minibus Owners Association said.
All government and private offices will open from June 8, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said on May 29.