Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar on Tuesday said that 1,412 buses in the state were reduced as part of a measure to rationalise bus routes and tide over financial crunch.
Pointing out that the per capita income of the people in the state has gone up during the AIADMK rule, he said that almost all the households in the state either have two-wheeler or a car. “With the people travelling in private vehicles, the passengers using the transport corporation buses have come down,” he said.
Initiating the debate, DMK’s Neyveli MLA Saba Rajendran said when the legislators have been demanding operation of new buses and new routes, the existing bus routes were cut off. He also said that the DMK regime in 2006-11 has bought 14,564 new buses while the AIADMK government has bought 11,862 buses between 2011 and 2019.
Vijayabhaskar said that in the past eight years, the government have ordered for the procurement of 12,153 new regular buses for replacement of very old buses for all state transport undertakings. “After I assumed charge as Transport Minister we have introduced 2,000 new buses. In this year’s budget, the announcement was made to purchase 3,000 new buses. Of the 3,000 buses, 1,881 buses were already being operated across the state,” he said.
Common mobility card
The Minister announced that electrically operated hydraulic wheelchair lift would be fixed in 25 buses at a cost of Rs 61.25 lakh to help the differently abled passengers. He said that a multi-level parking would be built at a cost Rs 20 crore at Kodaikanal to help the tourists park the vehicles. The transport corporation will introduce common mobility card to the passengers to do away with the cash transaction, he said, adding that 322 bus deports will be fixed with CCTV cameras.
To DMK legislator Gajendran question on why the transport corporation claiming to run in losses after hiking bus fare steeply, the Minister blamed the previous DMK regime for leaving the transport corporation with the huge debt burden. “Irrespective of the government in power, the transport corporation continues to incur losses. Across the country, Tamil Nadu has the lowest bus fare,” he added.