Occupancy Ratio in RTC buses has come down

Weighed down by huge accumulated revenue losses that further deepened due to the recent Samaikyandhra agitation, the AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) now has a fresh problem staring in its face in the Vijayawada region.

Occupancy Ratio (OR) in RTC buses operating in this region has come down. The fact that there is a diversion in the commuters’ preference is a worrying factor for local authorities. “The OR in RTC buses has come down by 4 to 5 % and this has been mainly noticed in the ordinary services,” admits Corporation’s Executive Director, Vijayawada zone, R. Nagaraju.

The ED attributes this to the increase in the number of private vehicles operating on city roads. A good number of commuters prefer private service mainly because of the convenience of boarding a bus near home and proper maintenance.

Realising the advantage of having multiple ‘pick-up’ points, the Corporation authorities recently introduced the facility for its Garuda service but not many people are aware of it.

Even while the Corporation jostles to survive, a strike threat looms large in the wake of the notice served by the RTC Employees Union and other outfits to the State Government, setting January 3 as deadline for fulfilment of the demands agreed upon by the management in the past.

“A conciliation meeting with the Labour Commissioner is scheduled on January 2. Our main demand is regularisation of services of drivers and conductors and grant of interim relief. There are 13,000-odd drivers across the State who are paid a meagre Rs. 7,000 towards salaries. We are not ready to wait beyond Sankranthi. To mount pressure, we will resort to a strike if our demands are not met by January 3,” says K. Padmakar, APSRTC Employees Union State general secretary.

The State committees of the unions are scheduled to meet at Puttaparthi on December 29 to chalk out their future course of action.

“On demand for IR, the management is citing losses. We are not responsible for these losses. The staff and workers have been doing all they can to help the management plug the revenue deficit,” says Mr. Padmakar.

The RTC officials, meanwhile, hope that the impending crisis will be defused through talks. “We have already suffered huge losses on various counts. We only hope that the issue is solved amiably without having to face yet another strike,” says Mr. Nagaraju.

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