CHENNAI: As many as 1,816 new buses have been inducted into the fleet of eight transport corporations in the State from July last year. This includes 275 new buses flagged off by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday.
The State government spent Rs 68.99 crore for building 275 buses with an average production cost of Rs 25 lakh per bus.
The 1,816 buses which were rolled out in four batches are part of the 2,100 new buses announced in 2016-17 budget.
TNSTC (Coimbatore) has received 430 buses, while Kumbakonam and Villupuram corporations received 345 and 317 buses respectively. Salem STC got 310 buses.
Transport corporations in Madurai and Tirunelveli which operate services in Madurai, Dindigul, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Nagercoil districts have been allotted 125 and 115 buses respectively. According to official records over 70 per cent of buses operated by Tirunelveli corporation are in a dilapidated condition.
State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) which caters to passengers above 300 km routes has received 100 buses and MTC 74 buses.
“The remaining 284 buses mostly earmarked for MTC are likely to hit the roads by the end of February. The buses are likely to have advanced features such as GPS-enabled tracking facility through mobile application,” said transport department sources.
This apart, the Institute of Road Transport (IRT), an engineering and technology support wing of state transport department, recently finalised the tenders for building 946 new buses for 2019. “The first batch of new buses is likely to be rolled out by June or August this year,” added official sources.
Besides, IRT has also invited bids to procure 2995 chassis for building new buses at an estimated cost of Rs 492 crore.
Of the 2995 bus chassis, 1765 chassis are earmarked for Villupuram, Salem, Coimbatore, Kumbakonam, Madurai and Tirunelveli corporations for mofussil routes. Nearly 200 chassis for Small Buses have been allotted to MTC and six other divisions of TNSTCs. In addition, MTC and SETC are to get 520 and 515 bus chassis respectively.
Interestingly, the cost of small buses whose commuter carrying capacity is much less than mofussil and MTC buses is higher compared to other buses. The average price of a chassis for a mofussil bus is Rs 14.44 lakh, while an MTC bus chassis costs Rs 15.62 lakhs. However, a Small Bus chassis costs Rs 19 lakhs. The SETC bus chassis costs Rs 23.17 lakhs, according to official documents.