BMTC, KSRTC defer plan to scrap old buses and induct new ones
It will be a while before the city’s roads see new Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses being inducted. The cash-strapped transport corporation, which had planned to induct over 2,100 new buses and scrap close to 1,000 old ones, has now delayed the plan after suffering revenue loss of over ₹900 crore owing to the pandemic.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) too has postponed scrapping of old buses. Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the KSRTC had planned for induction of 1,000 new buses and scrapping of 700 to 800 old ones.
Managing Director of KSRTC Shivyogi C. Kalasad said: “The pandemic has hit hard the finances of the corporations. We are not in a position to add a new fleet at least till December. If everything goes well, we may go for induction of buses in the beginning of the next calendar year.”
“Due to the pandemic, we are not operating the entire fleet of buses. The ridership is low compared to the pre-lockdown period. We are augmenting existing resources to meet the demand. We have to delay scrapping of buses till the induction of new buses,” he added.
The KSRTC has a fleet size of 8,600 buses. Earlier, the corporation was scrapping an ordinary bus after it crossed 10 lakh km operations and 13 lakh km in case of AC bus.
The BMTC officials said despite relaxation of lockdown, ridership remains low. Prior to the lockdown, the corporation was generating ₹5 crore revenue per day, which has now dropped to ₹1.8 crore. Unable to bear the expenses, the BMTC has again knocked on the door of the State government to pay the salary of the staff. A majority of AC buses have remained off the road for close to seven months.
“For the current financial year, there was a plan to induct 2,100-odd buses. But loss of revenue has forced postponement. As a result, scrapping of buses also needs to be delayed. However, buses that are in a bad condition have to be scrapped. This year, we might have scrapped 40-odd buses,” an official said.
In the last three years, the BMTC has inducted 1,700 new buses and scrapped 1,383 old ones. The official said induction of new buses may happen in the next financial year. It is not only the ordinary buses. BMTC’s plan to operate 300 e-buses on lease is facing hurdles as well. The corporation got a deadline extension to float the tender recently by the Union government.