‘Difficulties in vehicle maintenance led to suspension of city bus service’
By Phurailatpam Keny Devi
IMPHAL | Feb 8
The city bus service launched by chief minister, N. Biren Singh within three months of his government i.e. on June 25, 2017 has completely failed to continue its services; however, the inter-district bus service which was started on the same day is successfully operating till date by generating ample revenue.
In an interaction with IFP, undersecretary, Transport department, Polem Lenin Singh said that reviving of public transport system under the banner Manipur State Transport (MST) was incorporated in 100 days programme of the new government. The programme which was initiated with an objective to improve connectivity was materialised on June 25, 2017.
Polem Lenin further stated that the State was devoid of government owned public transport system after liquidation of Manipur State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) in 2003, resulting to various negative externalities such as poor quality of public transport system, traffic congestion, air and noise pollution etc. To address all those issues, the public transport system was rejuvenated but due to various reasons, the city bus service was discontinued after few months, he continued adding that “Nevertheless the state government is planning to resume more sustainable form of city bus service soon.”
Citing the reason for the failure of city bus service which was an exercise with just two semi low floor JNURM bus, he said that the decrease of commuters due to lack of parking lots added with the irregular frequency of the bus service were some of the major factors contributing to the termination of its service.
“The size of the bus was not proportionate with the road size of the state which has resulted to traffic congestion; and difficulty to maintain the vehicle because of absence of well-trained mechanic servicing service and low fuel efficiency are also some of the undeniable reasons that has led to the suspension of the city bus service in the State,” Polem Lenin said.
He admitted that it was failure in the first phase itself stating that the failure was due to its humble beginnings while also mentioning that the state government is not losing hope. “They are planning to come up with sustainable bus service and this time in-depth research and survey will be conducted before the resumption of services,” he added.
“In my opinion the service will be more success we sought support if it is converted into public private partnership (PPP) mode. Along with this, taking the support from various consultants will also must,” he suggested.
In regard to the inter-district bus service, he said that though city bus service was suspended, the MST is still serving commuters of far flung areas at their best level with the support of limited number of contract and casual staffs. Polem Lenin informed that inter-district service is plying in most of the districts and hill areas of the state such as Moirang, Kakching, Moreh, Pherzawl, Noney, Yairipok, Chandel, Tamenglong, Nungba, Tamei, Kamjong, Khoupum and Jessami adding that the number of commuters is increasing. “With the increase of demand, the state government is going to procure another 12 new buses in this financial year but as of now 15 were procured in a phase-wise manner,” he added.
The MST has provided a safe and reliable public transportation to 2,52,603 passengers between a period of June 25, 2017 to March, 31, 2018 and has collected a remarkable revenue of Rs. 1,05,02,077, he informed while urging people of the state to extend their support and co-operation by maintaining norms of MST for successful operation of services.
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