According to a senior official of the State-run transport utility, the lifespan of Volvo buses is only eight to ten years, after which these vehicles are removed from the fleet. “The other metropolitan cities undertook maintenance, including the replacement of electronic parts, while the vehicles were in operation. But the MTC did not take such steps previously,” said the official.
Officials said the sky-high maintenance cost, which is not viable when compared to the price of new buses, has hampered the operation of AC vehicles. Sources added that the fleet of 100 buses began showing the strain after the corporation stopped subscribing to the annual maintenance contract (AMC) with the manufacturer. As a result, it does not have spare parts for repair and replacement.
Last year alone, MTC stopped 13 services, with the buses remaining idle at the depots due to various mechanical failures. Now, 10 years after the service was launched, the city is left with only three AC buses that ply between Koyambedu and Kelambakkam (570 series).
“Although these buses that gave us a reprieve from the blistering heat were a huge hit among the commuters initially, I have had numerous experiences where I got down after the vehicle developing mechanical failures in the middle of the road,” said a regular commuter.
“It is not cost-effective to take up the maintenance works. We will ensure that the air-conditioned buses are available for the commuters when the MTC rolls out electric buses. The MTC operates with a profit motive, as the corporation aims to serve the people better,” added the official.