Poor roads push BMTC buses to scrapyard

Blame it on poor financial management, lack of sturdiness of buses or bad condition of City roads, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation is facing severe constraints in providing adequate public transport and getting out of financial black hole.

For financial year 2014, it is scrapping not less than 640 buses, which have either aged or are found untenable. This is an increase of 140 buses over the financial year 2013, when it had scrapped 500 buses.

While BMTC officials claim that it routinely scraps 500 to 600 buses annually, the average age of a bus fleet, vis-a-vis their wear and tear suggests that there is a problem which runs much deeper.

According to BMTC provisions, the corporation scraps only those buses which are either 10 years old or have run eight lakh kilometres, whichever is first. BMTC officials claim that the average age of their bus is 4 to 4.5 years.

An internal survey conducted in October 2013, for buses which ply on bad roads, states that there is an increase of 30 per cent in damage to the bus body. It also causes 20 per cent increase in breakdowns and 7.3 per cent increase in consumption of spare parts. Tyres show 20 per cent decrease in lifespan due to bad roads. The survey was conducted along the route between Magadi Road and Peenya II Stage.

The interior road, through which BMTC bus traverses, is considered by the corporation as one of the worst roads in City.

Revision of age provision

Sources say that if the condition of roads do not improve and traffic snarls do not minimise, the BMTC may have to revise the age provision meant to scrap buses. Hence buses that are relatively new may have to be pushed to junkyard before completing 10 years of service.

Further, officials say that due to financial concerns, the BMTC is running even old buses if repairs are minimal and they are relatively fit.

A BMTC team, comprising Divisional Manager, Divisional Controller, Chief Mechanical Engineer and Depot Manager, is said to be conducting routine inspection of the fleet every year to determine safety of buses. The team also decides which buses need to be taken off roads.

Service not to be affected

BMTC officials say that though the survey and scrapping of buses may cause concerns on the revenue front, it will not affect services. The corporation will replace scrapped buses by 500 new ones. The buses are being procured under JnNURM transition scheme last year. However, there is no official word on when the Centre will release its share of funds to the BMTC for procuring these buses, thus, leaving the corporation with a fleet deficit.

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