Junk fuel-guzzler buses, buy more of same brand

KSRTC, BMTC claim new model of Marcopolo is cost-efficient

Junk fuel-guzzler buses, buy more of same brand

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) may be inching closer to phasing out 139 of the fuel-guzzling Marcopolo buses. But, that is not stopping the State-owned corporations from buying 487 more of these vehicles.

The buses are likely to be bought with funds from the Centre’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The buses headed to the scrapyard - 98 with KSRTC and 41 with BMTC - had also been purchased with aid under the JNNURM in 2008.  

As per the scrapping policy for buses in the State, due procedure has to be followed. These buses can be scrapped only after the Cabinet gives its approval.  The approval is likely to be granted during the ensuing legislature session in Belagavi. KSRTC officials claim that the Marcopolo buses ordered now are of a different model.

Tenders were floated, a technical team from the corporation reviewed the model and found that its running cost and lifetime cost are less compared to similar buses by other manufacturers.

Parameters

KSRTC Managing Director Rajendra Kumar Kataria said, “The procurement of these buses had been in the pipeline from much before I had joined. We have had meetings with our technical teams as well as Tata Marcopolo officials. The lifetime cost of this model has been calculated based on a set of parameters.”

BMTC managing director Ekroop Caur said, “We have sent the proposal, seeking the scrapping of the 98 buses, to the Cabinet for approval”.

According to BMTC officials, operating the old buses would incur a loss of Rs 24 per km. If the buses are kept operational, the loss for the next four years would be Rs 64 crore.

The buses are not popular with passengers either, who find them noisy and uncomfortable. The earlier buses were procured because they were almost one-third the cost of a Volvo bus, at Rs 30 lakh to Rs 32 lakh each.

It allowed the corporations to provide air-conditioned travel to passengers at less cost. Sources in BMTC say though the vehicle’s engine was good, fuel efficiency was low, as it was the first time that Tata had forayed into the air-conditioned bus segment.

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