The transport department, in a bid to reduce arbitrary bus timings, overcrowding and rash driving inorder grab maximum passengers, said that all private buses would be brought under a single agency and bus owners would be paid according to the distance they cover and not on passengers they carry.
Speaking to media persons, Arun Dessai Director of Transport, said implementing the proposal which has been sent to the state government, would involve the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) under whose charge all the buses would operate.
According to the plan, all private buses would be registered under the SPV and in turn they would be paid a fixed amount for every kilometre they cover. They can continue to run the same routes and the same permits but instead of their earnings depending on the number of passengers, they will get a fixed amount.
“Once they know they are receiving a fixed amount irrespective of the number of passengers they get, but rather depending on kilometres they run, competition for the lucrative routes as well as profitable timings would end,” Dessai said.
“This will bring greater safety because the buses will not be over crowded as well as they will not race to overtake each other,” Dessai said.
He however sought to clarify that neither are they taking away the buses, nor the permits nor nationalising the routes, but just streamlining the public transport system through the help of SPV.
Dessai said he had already placed the idea before the bus owners’ associations and they seemed open to the idea. “Let me assure you that we will take all stakeholders into confidence before putting such a move into practice,” Dessai said.
When asked why the government itself could not go about streamlining the bus system instead of appointing a private partner to do so, Dessai admitted that it was because government departments lacked the efficiency, professionalism and managerial skills to achieve to complete such a task.
On whether nationalisation would be the option and giving of all the routes to the KTC, Dessai said that would put private bus operators and their employees out of business. He cautioned that the plan is still at the idea stage and had a long way to go before it reached fruition. [H]