Udupi: July 29, 2015: Although the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) issued 12 route permits for 30 low-floor buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for Udupi city in March, these government city buses can operate only after clearing two more hurdles.
The first hurdle is having a bus stand for the low-floor JNNURM buses, which would be managed by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), and the second is that of providing schedule to these buses by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA).
The city bus service has been managed by the private sector here for decades. There are 90 private city buses, which operate 534 trips in Udupi and its surroundings daily.
The district administration has sent a proposal to the government urging it to hand over the 34 cents of land, which now houses the Old DDPI office, and belongs to the Department of Public Instruction, to the Transport Department.
“This would allow the KSRTC to construct a bus stand for JNNURM buses. They need not compete for space at the city bus stand, where private city buses are parked,” said Deputy Commissioner R. Vishal.
Once the land is transferred from the Education Department to the Transport Department, the KSRTC could apply for a timetable for the JNNURM buses with the Regional Transport Authority (RTA). “The Revenue Department has prepared a note for transfer of land. It is expected to get Cabinet clearance within a month,” said Pramod Madhwaraj, MLA.
Once Cabinet clearance is received and the land is transferred, temporary shelters would be put up on the old DDPI office premises. “We expect the low-floor government buses to function in the city after the monsoon,” he said.
But Krishna Anchan, honorary president of Udupi City Bus Owners Association, said that if government buses are pressed into service, private players would be hit hard and about 250 persons would lose their jobs. “Our collections have been coming down as younger people are now travelling on two-wheelers. Our survival is in question,” he said.
A compromise is likely to be worked out to avoid a clash between private and government city buses. “We are open to holding discussions with private operators and are listening to their concerns. We want people to enjoy the benefit of both services,” Mr. Madhwaraj said.
Low-floor buses have been a long-pending demand here. “We want these buses as it is easy for senior citizens and women to travel on them,” said A.P. Kodancha, president of Senior Citizens Association.