Chennai: The A/C buses, procured by MTC in 2008, was once a sight for sore eyes in the city and many commuters preferred to travel on those buses. However, the entire episode has turned sore, as hardly five such buses are being operated now.
Sources said the transport department procured 100 A/C buses and each bus cost Rs 80 lakh. However, the officials gradually reduced the number of fleets and routes and cited ‘poor patronage’. Later on, the number of buses was reduced to 60 from 100 in 2015 and 20 in 2017 respectively. The MTC is operating hardly five A/C buses.
“MTC has miserably failed to undertake maintenance works on such buses, which are seen in broken conditions. The government has wasted Rs 80 crore from tax payers’money,” said a source. After bus fare revision, the maximum bus fare for A/C buses has gone up to Rs 150 and this forced passengers to prefer other mode of transportation, the source added.
An MTC official said “since the transport department is planning to buy electric buses, which will have air-conditioner system, we will no longer buy A/C buses.” Asked about failure to carry out maintenance on such A/C buses, the official maintained, “Maintenance works were properly undertaken, however, we found it difficult to buy spare parts, leaving the buses unattended.”
Meanwhile, commuters fumed over officials’ apathy. “I still remember travelling in A/C buses to Siruseri from T Nagar and I could see high patronage. Later on, the chassis of the buses was broken and even litter, indicating improper maintenance,” said A. Vignesh, a techie.