IMPHAL, Jun 27: Even though it has been just a couple of days since the Manipur State Transport’s (MST) inter-district and city bus services were launched, the daily expenditure (fuel cost) far outweighs the daily earnings as of now.
Although the inter-district and city bus services are being operated by the Transport Department presently, it has been reported that the same service would be outsourced to private agencies and it would be managed under public-private partnership (PPP) model later.
Already 10 buses; four buses within Imphal city, one each on Imphal-Moreh, Imphal-Noney, Imphal-Yairipok, Imphal-Moirang, Imphal-Pherzawl and Imphal-Kakching routes have been put into service.
Of the four buses operating within Imphal city, two originate from Moirangkhom while the other two originate from ISBT Khuman Lampak.
Those originating from Moirangkhom are operating on Secretariat-Nityaipat Chuthek-Kanglapat-BT Road-Wahengbam Leikai- Keishampat- Keisham-thong- Manipur College- Singjamei- Moirangkhom in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions (one each).
The two buses which start from ISBT Khuman Lampak are also operating in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions along the route-Khongnang Ani Karak-Lilasing Khongnang- khong-DM College Gate-Khoyathong-Nagamapal-BT Road-Kanglapat-North AOC-2nd MR Gate-Khongnang Ani Karak-ISBT.
Drivers who have been operating on this route said that one bus earns Rs 500 to Rs 600 in a day while the second bus earns just Rs 200 to Rs 300 in a day.
Of the two buses which start from Moirangkhom, one earns Rs 200 to Rs 300 in a day while the earning of the second bus is as good as nil.
On the other hand, the four city buses are filled with 50 litres of diesel each for two days. The cost of 50 litres of diesel is around Rs 2597. As such, the expenditure on fuel far outweighs the daily earnings.
As the city bus service was launched only a couple of days back, one has to wait and see if things improve in the coming days, the drivers said.
They said that there is a need to inculcate a habit of riding buses among the masses. Like city buses, buses operating on inter-district routes have been incurring big losses, they informed.
Notably, the previous Government launched public bus services on some selected routes and they even initiated due process to outsource the same service to private parties under PPP model.
However, no private firm came forward to operate the buses thereby rendering the whole initiative of the previous Government fruitless.
The drivers opined that diesel autos operating within Imphal city particularly along Nagamapal and Wahengbam Leikai roads must be withdrawn to the city’s periphery if the city buses must be made popular.
These autos have been posing serious hurdles to buses plying within Imphal city, they said.
Travelling in the semi-low floor buses is far more comfortable than travelling in noisy diesel autos but majority of the people have been habituated to travelling in diesel autos, said one passenger of the newly launched MST bus service.
Once people realise how much more comfortable travelling in semi-low floor buses is as compared to diesel autos, the MST bus service would certainly gain the popularity it deserves, said the passenger.
On the other hand, the Transport Department stopped issuing permits to diesel autos since 2013 but there has been no restriction on selling diesel autos.
As such, many new diesel autos have been operating in and around Imphal city even though they do not possess operational permits.