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October 11, 2014

First bus-route rationalization in four decades

First bus-route rationalization in four decades

After maintaining status quo for more thanfour decades, the transport department has finally rationalized routes of busesplying in the city and its periphery. The route rationalization is based on theinterview of 100,000 passengers and data collected from all sources.

The state government had last rationalizedbus routes in 1970.

Changein travel patterns

According to a study conducted by thedepartment, the travel pattern of commuters in Kolkata has undergone changesdue to expansion of urban sprawl, development of new activity centres, quantumjump in private mode of transport and growth of infrastructure. Earlier,intra-city travel used to be primarily north-south bound. But now, there areequally or more east-west, south-east and north-east movements.

Focuson STUs

Though government buses form only a part ofthe city bus transit system, the state government is trying to optimize thestate transport undertakings' (STU) contribution. The transport department is,therefore, making a serious effort to multiply the fleet strength of the STUs,particularly that of the Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC), whichwill, from now, command Kolkata and its adjacent areas exclusively. Nearly1,000 buses will be added to the existing fleet in Kolkata.

Doingaway with overlapping routes

While conducting the study, the departmenthas particularly focused on the overlapping routes of the STUs, which leads tounnecessary competition. To avoid any overlap, Howrah will now be primarilycatered by Calcutta Tram Company (CTC), Kolkata and North 24-Parganas will beunder CSTC and West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation (WBSTC) will serveSouth 24-Parganas.

Image courtesy: The Times of India

In Kolkata, three overlapped routes of CTCand WBSTC would be taken up by CSTC. Also, new routes have been introduced inthe city.

CSTC has already started operating in three AC routes:

  • Santragachhi-Ecospace, 
  • Airport-Garia, Thakurpukur-Santragachhi 
  • KolkataStation-New Town

CSTC also runs non-AC buses along 

  • Kolkata-Kalyani, 
  • Sarsuna-Tata Cancer Hospital, 
  • New Garia-Dakshineswar,
  • Haridevpur-Sealdah, 
  • LakeTown-Howrah, 
  • Belgharia-Ruby , 
  • Ultadanga-Krishnagore.

The Nager bazar-Howrah and Tegharia-Howrah routes have been reintroduced.

Newroutes on the anvil

Among new 19 routes to be introduced areBarrackpore-Alipore, Park Circus-Furfura Sharif, Boral-Rajabazar, Thakurpukur-Santragachhiand Shalimar station-Ruby Park. The government will press 400 new buses intoservice for these routes.

All North Bengal-bound buses from Kolkatawould exclusively be operated by NBSTC. Other STUs would withdraw theirservices along these routes. Inter-district routes within the north Bengaldistricts and Murshidabad would also be operated by NBSTC.

Moreover, all Durgapur, Asansol, Burdwan,Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia and West Medinipur bound services would beexclusively operated by SBSTC.

NBSTC and SBSTC would enter into a mutualagreement to operate in inter-district routes.

The report was first published in The Times of India on October 11, 2014.

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