The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has identified 800 old city buses that are either over 11 years old or have run over 8.5 lakh km to be scrapped in the current financial year.
Recent data from the BMTC indicated that the number of cases of breakdown of buses on the road has come down gradually over the years. In 2012-13, 3,488 breakdowns were reported (10 breakdowns on an average per day), while in 2017-18, it came down to 2,024 (close to six per day).
A BMTC official said: “There are various factors for reduced breakdown, which include removal of old buses from the fleet, induction of new buses and periodic maintenance. In the coming days, the number of breakdown will reduce further provided more new buses are added to the fleet.”
The BMTC is planning to induct 1,000 more new buses. However, the plan will depend on the National Green Tribunal’s decision about inducting diesel buses.
A total of 1,406 new buses were inducted into the fleet the previous financial year after a long gap. Only 298 buses were added between 2014-15 and 2015-16 owing to reasons including lack of funds and legal hurdles. The fleet number now stands at 6,634.
V. Ponnuraj, MD, BMTC, said: “We are planning to induct 1,000 new buses in the coming days. However, everything will depend on the outcome of the NGT order.”
There are demands from various quarters for BMTC to shift to environment friendly electric buses. Though the BMTC has cleared a tender to operate 80 e-buses through a private operator, the move got embroiled in a controversy after Transport Minister D.C. Thammanna alleged that corrupt BMTC officials were forcing him to clear the agreement on e-buses.
BMTC and KSRTC employees had termed the Minister’s allegations “irresponsible” and sought an inquiry. It is said that the Chief Minister, in a meeting held last week, directed the Chief Secretary along with two senior IAS officers to look into the issue of selecting a private operator to run electric buses.