After a delay of over two years, the BMTC is all set to induct 1,658 buses into its existing fleet. Of these, 1,000 are likely to be added by the end of March. The corporation’s fleet had been drastically reduced after it phased out old buses but failed to add new buses owing to many issues, including legal hurdles. In 2013-14, the BMTC was operating 6,775 buses, but the number has dropped to 6207 buses. Non-induction of new buses had hit operations of the corporation and forced it to ‘optimise’ resources.
The introduction of new routes is crucial for the BMTC as it has the ‘obligation’ of operating buses in the city limits as well as centres on the outskirts of Bengaluru.Every day, the BMTC receives demand for new routes and additional bus services from various quarters which include general public, institutions and public representatives. An official of the BMTC said, “The public approaches us through mail or posts demanding new routes, additional services, changing timings, deviations and others. On an average, ten odd such requisitions are received every day at the head office itself. The addition of new buses will definitely help in improving existing operations and adding more services.”
In the past, the corporation had asked the public to post their suggestions by adding a section ‘need more buses’ on the official website. Among the new buses, the BMTC is to procure a large number (1,000) of non AC buses from Tata. When asked about the reservations expressed by some drivers over procurement of buses from Tata, the MD said, “The BMTC already has 2000 non-AC buses from Tata which are operational. In the tender, Tata has met the specification required and was the lowest bidder as well. They have been selected as per the rules. These buses are non-AC buses and cannot be compared with the low floor AC buses which were removed from the fleet due to poor performance.”
In the past, the BMTC had approached the state government to scrap Tata-Marcopolo AC buses by citing poor performance and huge operational loss. The BMTC is also going for scrapping of old buses. It is said that 500 old buses will be scrapped in a phased manner in the coming months.