Double-decker buses may return to Hyderabad roads
Deccan Chronicle.| Sanjay Samuel Paul
All buses to have vehicle tracking systems for the convenience of its commuters
Piccture of a double-decker Bus from Zoo park to Secunderabad via AfzalGunj. (Twitter)
Hyderabad: The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) is planning to reintroduce ‘double-decker’ bus services in the city, which were quite popular in the days gone by.
Apart from adding 1,016 buses to its fleet, along with more electric buses, all buses will have vehicle tracking systems for the convenience of its commuters. The corporation, which has diversified into cargo, hospitals, pharma, and a nursing college, is all set to start ITI colleges in Hyderabad and Warangal.
After having started on a humble note with 27 buses and 166 employees, today TSRTC boasts of a fleet of 10,000 buses and a work-force of 48,000 personnel.
The common man’s ideal transportation mode has incurred losses to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore.
Its reins were given to senior IPS officer V.C. Sajjanar in September 2021. Since taking over as its managing director, he has invigorated the corporation with new revenue generating strategies in a bid to reduce losses.
In an exclusive chat with Deccan Chronicle, Sajjanar detailed his future plans for the organisation and how he intends to reduce its losses.
On the challenges which he had to conquer at the time of taking over and how he plans to put the organisation back on track, given the financial crunch it is in, the man steering its fortunes said "our immediate concern is the abnormal fuel prices. You must understand that our daily consumption of diesel is around six lakh litres." Adding further, he said that although controlling expenditure was a priority area, there would be no compromise on the facilities provided to students. "We are augmenting services whereupon routes fetching revenues are being increased by way of frequency. Those with poor occupancy rates will be effectively curtailed. A lot of scientific study has gone into our streamlining process," he said.
Sajjanar explained that even as they have added 1,016 new buses to its fleet, "we are pitching in for more electric buses in the PPP mode."
Incidentally, if things go according to his plans for the corporation, the day may not be far-off when the city will see double-decker buses plying on the roads.
He said "we are, in fact, keen on reintroducing this popular service. We are in talks with premier bus building companies to work out the modalities and logistics. I am told that each double-decker bus will cost anything between Rs 80 lakh to Rs one crore."
TSRTC has been running into staggering losses and the impact of Covid-19 has added to its woes. As one who has seen the revenue downslide from close quarters, Sajjanar has his own pragmatic solution to tide over the crisis.
"We have urged the state government to release Rs 2,000 crore to us as immediate Covid-19 relief. The corporation has suffered the most during the lockdown. If our request gets the go-ahead and the amount is released, I am sure many of the financial issues can be resolved. The social service-oriented corporation can then breathe easy."
It may be noted that the corporation has recently extended the VRS option to its employees.
On why this decision was taken when there was actually a need to hire more people, the corporation’s managing director clarified "We are offering this option to those who are suffering from health issues. Moreover, over 46 per cent of our employees are in human resource departments, which should suffice for now."
Asked about the contention of unions that the newly formed employee welfare boards (EWB) are not performing to the required levels, Sajjanar dismissed the allegation by maintaining "this is not true. They have the liberty to elect their representatives. Moreover, we are looking to shortly replace the new EWB body."