S. Anandan of Navalur, who takes an MTC bus to work, will no longer have to wait while the vehicle stops at a bunk in Okkiyampettai.
Thanks to the Madras High Court granting an interim stay on State Transport Undertakings (STUs) being charged a higher price on bulk purchase of diesel, buses will not have to fill fuel at private retail outlets.
They can now avail of the supply at their depots, as was the practice before the Centre’s decision to hike the price on bulk purchase of fuel.
On Thursday, passengers of MTC and SETC buses welcomed the move.
“For nearly two months now, I have been getting to work late, every other day. The buses I take invariably stop to fill fuel at petrol bunks around 10 a.m. Once, when I asked a bus conductor to sign my ticket so I could board another bus, he bluntly refused. I was told to either wait or use some other mode of transport,” said Anandan.
The High Court’s order came as a relief to thousands of motorists too who were forced to jostle for space with buses at fuel bunks.
“In January, when I was on my to a business meeting, I had to wait at a bunk for a long time as the buses filled up,” ,” said Sakthi Singh, a resident of Adyar.
MTC officials too welcomed the move. After the Central government discontinued the subsidy on diesel supplied to bulk customers in January, the MTC asked its drivers to fill fuel at private bunks. “We bought diesel at retail outlets for Rs. 51.25 per litre whereas a bulk purchase would cost us around Rs. 60 a litre,” an official said.
The MTC’s fleet of 3,600 buses cover over nine lakh kilometres and consume over 2.50 lakh litres of diesel every day. “In depots, we can stock up for three days. However, the Court order is just an interim stay, so we will have to wait and watch,” said a transport department official.