The transport sector has finally started picking up pace after a lull of 18 months. While the inter-city and inter-state buses have achieved a demand of 70 per cent, school buses have also started operating without many glitches. Many private buses have also started operating for office-goers.
On October 6, private bus operators met NCP leader Sharad Pawar, along with officials from the transport department, to discuss steps to be taken for the revival of the transport sector. An official said the point of waiving road tax for a year was raised so that the industry could take off.
He said, “We also made the point that taxes on fuel will help generate revenue for the state government, so it won’t be a loss to the exchequer,” said the official, adding that the approximate concession after waiving road tax comes to around Rs 150 crore.
“The bus operators claim that this will reinstate confidence and more buses will come on the road,” the official added. Of the total 37,000 private buses, 12,000 are school buses and 5,000 cater to the IT industry. A member of the Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatana said out of the remaining 20,000, at least 70 per cent have hit the road. “Since lockdown, this is the first time that an array of clientele is being catered to,” he said.
These 20,000 buses cater to passengers travelling inter-city, inter-state and office-goers, who do not prefer to commute by BEST, autos or aggregator cabs. These also include app-based bus services. Private bus operators claim there is a demand for buses on the Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa and Karnataka route. There are also inter-city buses leaving for Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Dhule, Konkan and other places within the state.