Southern states own 70 pc of nation's public transport

Three southern states - Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh - own and operate 70.4 per cent of the total fleet of public transport that exists in the country. Maharashtra too, to some extent, shares the credit.

These statistics were revealed in a report submitted to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) by the Transport Research Wing (TRW) on the ‘Performance of State Road Transport Undertakings (STU) for April 2010 – March 2011,’ comparing 34 Public Transport Corporations on various aspects.

The total count of public transport buses operated in India stands at 1,22,355 as in March, 2011. Of them, Maharashtra accounts for 23,261 buses while Karnataka runs 21,302, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 21,802 and Tamil Nadu with 19,856 buses. In the north, Delhi has a fleet of 5,771 buses.

“In the northern states, there is lack of financial prudence among state-run transport corporations. Other existing modes of transport such as tempos, taxis and autorickshaws make up for lack of buses,” said Gaurav Gupta, MD, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation.

Among the 34 STUs, only five corporations make profits and Karnataka’s KSRTC and BMTC top the list with Rs 62.05 crore and Rs 50.35 crore respectively. Other profit-making STUs are Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, Punjab State Department of Transport, and the Orissa State Road Transport Corporation. But the National Capital’s Delhi Transport Corporation has a huge loss of Rs 2,286.54 crore, followed by BEST and APSRTC with losses up to Rs 381.38 crore and Rs 268.81 crore, respectively.

Gupta claimed that India, when compared to other countries, does not give much importance to State-run transportation. “Excise duty for public buses is at 10 per cent here. This should be made nil. Also, no corporation gets any form of subsidies. In foreign countries, public transport companies get subsidies and operational losses are borne by the government,” he said.

The annual report has been sent to every STU and state transport department asking them to bring out the problems faced by their corporations.

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