One of the components of the Jawarhalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was introduction of attractive buses in a bid to make members of the public use the public transportation system extensively, but the manner in which the scheme was implemented proved to be counter productive.
The fares fixed for travel in JNNURM buses are 200 per cent more than the normal buses and this has discouraged people from using the facility.
In a memorandum to the Union Urban Development Ministry, Secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause (CCC) K. Kathirmathiyon, said that of the 2000 buses in Tamil Nadu, 1,064 were plying in Chennai, 213 in Madurai and 192 in Coimbatore.
In Coimbatore, the Ministry of Urban Development had approved Rs.44.39 crore in 2009, as its share (Additional Central Assistance - ACA) for purchase of 300 buses and an amount of Rs.22.19 crore was released earlier with 70 per cent of cost as Central Government assistance under JNNURM.
With the funds, the TNSTC purchased buses termed as “Luxury”, “Low Floor” and “Semi-Low Floor.”
But all these buses were operated with just ‘ordinary’ and not ‘luxury’ permits. These buses were in operation without the fare table approval by a competent authority. Ultimately, people from the middle-income and low-income group avoided travelling in JNNURM buses, as the fares were very high.
Interestingly, all private buses are being operated with ordinary fare only. The occupancy ratio of JNNURM buses compared to other ordinary buses (both private and State owned) could reveal the poor patronage for the former.
CCC has requested the Government to go in for ordinary buses only.
Since the cost of ordinary buses was lesser, more buses could be purchased with the funds. It would result in more buses for the people on different routes with ordinary fare.