BMTC's ageing fleet may not be replaced any time soon

BMTC's ageing fleet may not be replaced any time soon
The BMTC’s trouble with overused buses is likely to continue for more than a year - the time needed for the corporation to replace its ageing fleet as and when new buses are delivered.

Buses regularly break down at various points in the city. The issue came to the fore recently when two buses hit the ground after their front tyres came off in separate incidents. Besides maintenance issues, the major reason for such incidents recurring is that the buses are being used beyond the stipulated deadline.

As per policy, BMTC has to scrap buses which have run beyond 8.5 lakh km or which are aged above 11 years, whichever is earlier. However, the corporation was forced to run about 2,000 such buses due to delay in procuring new ones.

“We have decided to scrap 1,398 buses this year. Of this, 700 buses have been removed from the fleet after we received new buses to replace them. The issues regarding old buses will be addressed soon,” BMTC chairman Nagaraj Yadav said.

He said the government had approved the addition of 3,000 buses, half of which will be taken on lease by BMTC. “Additionally, the 2,000 buses that the BMTC had ordered earlier are being delivered now,” he said.

However, the addition of buses will take time, the chairman noted. “We have to ensure that the buses delivered to us meet our expectations. We have returned many buses seeking modifications,” he said.

Yadav said replacing old buses was a continuous process. “The delay in procuring 2,000 buses (due to the stay by National Green Tribunal) has led to the rise in the number of old buses. Even then, we can’t rush through the process of acquiring new buses,” he said.

The BMTC could induct only 700 buses over the last two years. “Without new buses, we can’t remove the old vehicles from the fleet as it will lead to cancellation of several schedules. We are putting additional effort for maintenance of old vehicles so that people are not inconvenienced. The problem will continue for an year,” sources in BMTC said.

Activists noted that the problem was the result of the government’s attitude towards BMTC. Vinay Srinivasa of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike said, over the years, governments have not taken into account the health of buses and the rising population, while making plans for the city.

“Governments gave permission for new layouts, but did not add buses. The vision documents do not take into account the requirements of public transport systems. This has led to the crisis-like situation,” he said.

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