State govt promises to make bus ride a delight by 2010

The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation has envisaged a threefold development plan for the state transport buses in its expansion project for the current year.

Written by Ujjwala Nayudu | Ahmedabad | Published:February 8, 2009 2:28 am

GSRTC unfolds 3-tier development plan for upgradation of infrastructure,buses and IT support

The Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) has envisaged a threefold development plan for the state transport buses in its expansion project for the current year.

Shrugging off the delay in the claims made last year,the GSRTC showed confidence to set up the project by 2010,to contribute to the development targets set for Swarnim Gujarat.

G R Aloria,Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of GSRTC said: “The project will be developed in three parts,bus infrastructure,bus upgradation and IT support. We had this plan for a long time,but this year,we are all set to start work on the same. The project will come up in seven major cities of Gujarat and will be later expanded to smaller towns.”

Initially,two bus terminals will come up at Ahmedabad (Central and Satellite),Vadodara (Central and Makarpura),Surat (Central and Adajan) and one on the Mehsana Highway. Another 10 terminals are confirmed to be in the pipeline.

The project will have a total cost of Rs 1,000 crore. “We expect to receive Rs 189 crore as upfront premium,Rs 138 crore for the bus terminals,and another Rs 600 crore for commercial establishments near the terminals,” he said.

Aloria said the first phase of development is reserved for the bus stops. State-of-the-art bus terminals will be constructed on the Build Own Lease Transfer (BOLT) finance method. They will be built by private parties and handed over to the GSRTC after 30 years. The remaining area around the bus terminals will be given to private companies for commercial use,he added.

In the second phase,GSRTC will introduce 1,000 new buses. “As part of the bus upgradation,we are introducing two Volvo buses,460 CNG buses,20 AC buses,50-sleeper coaches,150 semi-luxury,100 mini buses and 220 super class buses. We recently tested 2 Volvo buses. After a successful run of the two,others will follow,” Aloria said.

“This has been done specifically to give a facelift to GSRTC and a competition to the private bus operators. With this,GSRTC will cater to all sections of people,” he added. The third part of the development would see the bus service be enabled with IT support.

“This is an important initiative where we will install computerised depots all over Gujarat. We will introduce electronic ticketing in buses and online booking for commuters like it is in the railways and airlines. But it is still in the trial phase. The student passes will be converted to cards that can be swiped upon entering buses,” he said.

The GSRTC also plans to further intensify the online bus tracking system with Global Positioning System. Digital displays will be set up at the bus depots and bus stops. Aloria said: “We have been the first to introduce on-line tracking system. We are setting up the tracking system in another 300 buses. We want to establish a stronger tracking method either with the help of GPS or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). We are trying to integrate both tracking and digital display,but it is getting delayed at the policy level.”

About 8,000 GSRTC buses run in Gujarat,making a total of 44,000 trips daily. It has a staff of about 41,000 drivers. It recorded revenue of Rs 1,700 crore last year. But there are still 600 villages in the state that are not covered by the buses.

Aloria added: “Connectivity is the biggest challenge for us. There is a demand for bus service in several villages,and we have floated tenders for 500 additional buses for shorter routes and remote areas. These buses will carry people from the remote villages and get them closer to the bus stops in bigger towns and cities.”

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