The ambitious project of installing intelligent transport system (ITS) in Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses is running behind schedule and it appears that the project will not see the light of day till the middle of 2017.
Once operational, the system will enable the commuters to know the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of CTU buses at the bus queue shelters. The project is funded by World Bank and has allocated a budget of Rs 15 crore.
Chandigarh along with three other cities — Mira-Bhayandar, Bhopal and Jaipur — was picked in May last year for the pilot project of modernising city bus service. The project was expected to be complete by the end of this year. However, so far, the CTU management has not even been able to appoint a project management consultant for execution of the project.
The process of hiring the consultant was initiated in October by inviting expression of interest (EoI) and a total of 10 companies have shown interest in the project.
Without giving reasons for the delay, Amit Talwar, who recently took over as director (transport), said that the consultant would be shortlisted shortly. He added that it would take around 18 months for completing the project.
However, CTU Workers’ Union president Bhupinder Singh said that the delay in execution of project had been due to the lax attitude of the management in the past.
Under the project, CTU intends to install electronic displays with ITS at around 300 bus queue shelters spread across the city which would display the ETA of all buses touching the bus shelters. The commuters will also be able to access the service through short message service (SMS) and interactive voice response system (IVRS).
According to Talwar, they also plan to introduce e-ticketing facility. The project includes modernisation of equipment for better maintenance of the buses.
The ITS system will first be introduced in the local bus service and will be replicated in long-route buses later.
CTU currently has a fleet of 470 buses which are operating from its four depots. The fleet comprises standard size buses, semi-low floor non-AC buses, AC buses, low-floor AC buses, low-floor non-AC buses, and mini-AC buses. Out of the total buses, 87 are being used for long routes.
The remaining buses are used for city bus service which serve the Tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, and suburban areas like Zirakpur and Kharar. CTU is in the process of purchasing around 100 more buses to strengthen its local and inter-state bus service.
In the past, CTU incurred a loss to the tune of Rs 1 crore by installing global positioning system (GPS)-based vehicle-tracking system on old buses, which were pulled off the roads within few years after getting the system. CTU had installed GPS\passenger information system in a total of 100 buses and as many as 50 bus shelters in different parts of the city in June 2010. The buses were pulled off the road in 2013 and the pieces of equipment were rendered useless. The audit department had also slammed CTU for wasteful expenditure.