Bhubaneswar, India (Urban Transport News): The Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) is planning to adopt a wet lease policy to increase the fleet size of city buses and introduce buses in some new routes.
The OSRTC has 636 buses, of which 478 are being operated in 317 routes and 77 buses are under repair. The rest 53 buses have already been identified to be condemned. The bus strength is about five per cent of total buses (both government and private) in operation in the state.
Although the Assembly standing committee had recommended the OSRTC to procure new buses to increase their fleet size to 1,000, the corporation is planning to adopt a different procedure as it is incurring operational loss every year. At a recent high-level meeting, it has been decided to examine the procedure adopted by Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT), which is providing Mo Bus service in Puri and Rourkela.
Principal secretary of Commerce and Transport Usha Padhee suggested that a wet lease procedure can be adopted to increase fleet size by way of participation of private bus owners without putting financial burden on the corporation on purchase of buses, maintenance, manpower and fuel.
“Maintenance charge, fuel cost and staff payment will be borne by the private partner under the wet model. Private partners may have a better managing system and be able to reduce operational losses. We are examining different models. A decision in this regard will be taken soon,” said a Transport department official. However, an agreement will be made with private partners, in case the model is adopted, for payment of premium to reimburse losses in nonprofitable routes and to ensure that no bus is kept idle, he said.
The principal secretary has also asked the Transport Commission to take immediate steps for issuance of permit in favour of OSRTC in the routes which are not rationalised and in case of night service to avoid idleness of buses and reduce loss. The corporation had been demanding a state-wide permit and exemption from payment of taxes. It was also decided that the existing training centre at Chhatia will be used for training of drivers as establishment of a new institution will cater to huge expenditure.