faced with acute shortage of buses and a financial crunch, the AP State Road Transport Corporation is contemplating hiring 1,000 new buses from private operators.
According to RTC officials, ordinary buses, Express buses, Palle Velugu, Metro Deluxe and Metro Express will be hired. Over 3,000 such hired buses are already plying across the state.
The country’s biggest public passenger transport organisation is suffering a huge Rs 4,200-crore loss and is unable to buy new buses its own. The corporation needs at least 5,000 more buses to meet the demand. Hence the decision to hire private buses.
The recent withdrawal of subsidy for bulk buyers of diesel has come as a big shock to the corporation and burdened it with an additional expenditure of Rs 714 crore every year.
The corporation is paying Rs 1 crore a day towards interest on loans. Though its revenue is Rs 7,000 crore a year, it is incurring losses due to increasing of maintenance, employees’ salaries and higher cost of diesel. Lack of support from the government is further denting its resources.
According to an executive director, the corporation has to replace 5,000 worn-out buses immediately but money crunch is hindering it. Financial institutions and banks are not coming forward to provide loans as the corporation has taken crores of rupees as loans by mortgaging the bus stations and vacant sites.