By Irfan Lone
The move of the Chandigarh Administration to introduce Tricity passes for the buses received a tremendous response from the commuters. Ever since the facility was launched in September last year, more than 3 lakh passes have been issued to commuters travelling on Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses.
Earlier, bus passes that were issued were for commuting within the city. With the Chandigarh Administration including Panchkula and Mohali as well, there are more commuters who are now availing the facility.
A total of 3,08,520 bus passes have been issued to the public from September 1 last year to March 16. Of these, 2,42,763 have been issued for non-AC buses while, 65, 757 are for AC buses. This has generated a revenue of Rs 1.78 crore for the Administration.
For the first time, daily passes are also being issued throughout the week instead of only on weekends. “The facility is really beneficial especially for students. I have to commute everyday on buses and this proves to be economical,” said BCom first year student Anita.
According to the official data, in December last, as many as 38,913 non-AC passes were issued, which increased to 47,029 in January, 2015. A similar rise is seen in the number of passes for AC buses. In December last, 11,502 AC bus passes were issued. Meanwhile, in January the number increased to 17,235.
The public monthly pass facility for non-AC and AC buses cost Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 respectively, while the student pass cost Rs 100 for non-AC and Rs 500 for the AC buses. For government employees working in Chandigarh, the monthly bus pass for non-AC and AC bus cost Rs 250 and Rs 1000 respectively. Senior citizens avail the monthly bus pass facility for Rs 250 and Rs 500 for non-AC and AC buses respectively.
“The aim of the initiative is that more and more people should use public transport on reasonable rates and minimize the congestion caused by private vehicles on the roads. This would facilitate lowering the pollution level,” said TPS Phoolka, director CTU, adding that with more buses coming soon, the waiting time for passenger will be reduced.
The Administration has moved a proposal with the governments of Punjab and Haryana to exempt passenger tax on CTU buses. While the Administration has introduced passes for the tricity, no tax exemption is being given by the neighbouring states which is causing losses to CTU.
The bus passes are issued from the sampark centers in the city and the two Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) in Sector 17 and Sector 43.