Morbi, the tile town of India, which was completed one year as a new district, has something to cheer as the municipality of the town launched city bus service on Thursday.
The first bus of the service was flagged off from Bhaktinagar on Sanala Road to Tragpar village at 11 am. Morbi MLA Kanti Amrutiya, elected members of Morbi municipality and Morbi district superintendent of police S K Dave took the ride on the first trip.
“In all, four buses will ply between Bhaktinagar and Tragpar, covering the distance of around six kilometres. We shall run the buses on trial basis till August 24. With a view to popularise them and make people aware of the service, rides will be free till August 25. After that, commuters will have to pay a minimum fare of Rs 5 and maximum fare of Rs10,” Kirit Saraiya, chief officer of Morbi municipality, said.
The officer said the civic body had purchased the four semi-law floor buses with a seating capacity of 22 each at the cost of Rs 76 lakh. The fund had been provided by state government under the Swarna Jayanti Mukhyamantri Shaheri Vikas Yojana.
“We have hired retired drivers of the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSTRC) to drive the buses. We estimate minimum 1,000 people will use the service daily. The monthly cost of operating a bus will be around Rs 90,000 per month and our revenue estimate is around Rs 1.10 lakh every month,” Saraiya added.
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Morbi has a population of 2.5 lakh. The town is the headquarters of Morbi district which was carved out of Rajkot and Surendranagar on August 15 last year.
The district is home to a booming ceramic industry which produces around 90 per cent of tile and sanitaryware of the country.