Chennai: Contrary to expectations, the state transport department which earlier announced that it would soon buy new buses including the much anticipated electric buses for the city, has now reversed its stance.
Highly-placed sources in the transport department stated that it would take yet another year to complete all procedural formalities for the new buses to hit the roads, extending the deadline to 2020.
A year back, the transport department worked overtime to prepare a blueprint for adding 2,100 new buses to its fleet. Officials also claimed that the ageing fleet would be replaced in a phased-manner. But the proposal remains only on paper.
Sources added that officials have decided to procure 2,100 new buses including small buses without any further delay. "Accordingly, we have temporarily prepared a new chart under which 200 buses will hit the roads on May 31, while 500 more would be operated from June 30. Likewise, the department will flag off 700 buses on July 31, and an additional 600 buses from August 31," said an official, requesting anonymity.
"Of course, the first batch of buses was scheduled to hit the roads by last May. But, hit by fund crunch, it did not materialise. Later, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami flagged off 471 mofussil buses in October," added the official.
Earlier, transport officials had said they would be buying 100 electric buses for service in the city, but now they have changed the deadline to 2020.
"We are planning to replace old buses gradually, as everything cannot be processed overnight," another official noted.
When asked for his comments, another higher-up in the department, said, "Buying 2,100 buses at one go is highly impossible, but we are working on it. I am sure all the new buses would gradually hit the roads."