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20 buses launched in urban routes

Staff Reporter
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Stress on need for economical, safe, reliable and punctual public transport system

New service: Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh and Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam flagging off new buses in urban routes under the JNNURM scheme in Puducherry on Monday. — Photo : T. Singaravelou
New service: Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh and Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam flagging off new buses in urban routes under the JNNURM scheme in Puducherry on Monday. — Photo : T. Singaravelou

The government must focus on increasing the share of public transport to 70 per cent by increasing efficiency and affordability, so that dependence on private vehicles may be reduced, said Lieutenant Governor Iqbal Singh. He was speaking at the launch of 20 new buses in urban routes under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme.

Mr. Singh emphasised the need for an economical, safe, reliable and punctual public transport system.

Infrastructure, coupled with a quality urban public transport system was the key to the growth of any city. However, increased urbanisation was putting great pressure on the urban transport system. Migration and high tourist influx had resulted in increased traffic congestion for want of space and inadequate public transport facility, Mr. Singh said.

The biggest advantages of using a public transport system were reduced congestion on streets, quick movement and decrease in the impact on environment, Mr. Singh said. He appreciated the government in recognising the need for improved public transport.

Mr. Singh went on to cite the example of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) that had put in place a facility for real time passenger information system dissemination by using the Global Positioning System (GPS) for vehicle tracking and control, making it one of the few public sector road transport undertakings in Asia to make profits every year. He urged the Puducherry Road Transport Corporation to adopt the same system over a period of time for increased efficiency and accountability.

As part of the first phase, 20 low-floor non air-conditioned buses were flagged off on existing routes. On receipt of the remaining funds, 20 more such buses would be operated on new routes. Ten air-conditioned buses would also be operated. The whole initiative had been taken up under the JNNURM scheme at an estimated cost of Rs. 16.15 crore, of which Rs. 12.92 crore was Central share, and the remaining, State share.

“Eventually, all old buses of the PRTC will be phased out to be replaced by new buses on all routes,” Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam said. The system would thus be made more efficient, prove beneficial to the people and rake in profit, he said.

Work on the flyover from Kokku Park to Marapalam had already begun as a step to address traffic congestion, said Public Works Minister M.O.H.F. Shahjahan, who also holds the transport portfolio. The PRTC would soon introduce new buses to rural areas and interstate buses for the benefit of the public, he added.

Welfare Minister M. Kandasamy was present.

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