Albion passenger bus AKA Deccan Queen of 1932 parked in the APSRTC PN Bus Station at Vijayawada. (DC Image)
VIJAYAWADA: Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) on Wednesday reached a milestone of turning 90 years. It was exactly 90 years ago when 27 buses owned by the state hit roads during Nizam of Hyderabad’s reign.
Earlier, APSRTC’s buses were famous as "Yerra (red) Bussu", as they had been red in colour. Subsequently, RTC adopted multiple colours.
The origin of APSRTC dates back to June 1932, when it got first established as NSR-RTD (Nizam State Rail and Road Transport Department) with 166 employees. When Hyderabad state merged with India in September 1950, the seventh and last Nizam, Osman Ali Khan Bahadur, handed over the RTC to Indian Government with an agreement that every bus number will include letter Z, which stands for Zahra Begum, Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan’s mother.
Two of the 27 heritage Albion buses of those times are still existing, one at RTC’s administrative headquarters in Hyderabad and the other one in Vijayawada.
In undivided Andhra Pradesh, APSRTC had a fleet of 22,628 buses. the largest anywhere in the world. Since 1999, the corporation has held a prestigious place in Guinness Book of World Records as the owner of largest fleet across the globe.
RTC’s buses cover 31.59 lakh kilometres and carry 24.76 lakh people to their destinations every day within AP and neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Odisha and Telangana. The buses connect 14,123 villages to all major towns and cities in AP, thereby running over 95 percent of the roads in the state.
Many people of the state are emotionally connected with APSRTC as it fulfils their travel needs. Senior commuter K. Ramakrishna said he has been travelling in RTC buses for the past 50 years. They have provided him safe and secure travel.
Retired APSRTC depot manager N. Venugopal said APSRTC is the icon of AP state. It merged with state government on January 1, 2020 following the demand of employees. Venugopal pointed out that with competition increasing from private travels, cabs and auto-rickshaws, RTC should start modernising its services and protect the 90-year-old organisation.
APSRTC executive director K.S. Brahmananda Reddy expressed pride that APSRTC has been serving the people for past 90 years. It is presently recovering financially after taking a hit because of Coronavirus pandemic. He pointed out that RTC collected 15.40 crore on January 17 during the Sankranti festival. On April 18, its revenue had been 18.62 crore. On June 13 this month, its collection had been 18.33 crore.