BANGALURU :Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus breakdowns have shot up over the past few years, and officials blame it on poor road maintenance by Bruhat Bangalore Mahangara Palike (BBMP).
The number of front-axle and steering breakage for the financial year 2013-14 is 83, an increase of over 50 per cent as compared to 35 in 2012-13, according to the BMTC annual report released on Thursday.
A senior official in the operation and maintenance department said, “Front and rear axles are the two sturdiest components of any vehicle, but due to Bengaluru’s terrible roads, even these are breaking, adding to maintenance costs.”
Ten shock-absorber springs have been broken this year due to buses frequently coming up against potholes. Last year, only one was damaged, indicting that the condition of roads have worsened.
BMTC added 838 new buses to its fleet in 2013-14, but only 549 in 2012-13. Most number of buses — 1,218 — were added in 2009-10, many of which were Volvo vehicles and which the company claimed were low maintenance.
Volvo buses have been very popular, especially with IT/BT employees. From 2009-10 to 2012-13, these buses were making profits. But in 2013-14, due to the increase in fuel prices and spare parts, these buses are also running on losses. Rising diesel and spare part prices are also the major contributing factors to the increasing maintenance cost of the entire fleet. A whooping 35 per cent of the cost of operation was spent on diesel last year.
“Breakdowns have been steadily climbing since 2010-11. In 2012-13, the number of breakdowns was 3,488, which went up to 3,549 in 2013-14,” said a BMTC official.
The Corporation has incurred a total expenditure of `2,161.53 crore as cost of operations this year as against `1,808.41 crore last year, showing an increase of 19.5 er cent.
Meanwhile, the fuel efficiency of the buses has come down due to increasing traffic density. In 2004-05, the fuel performance of BMTC was 4.74 for 1 litre of diesel. It has constantly reduced since. In 2013-14, it came down to 3.82 km a litre from 3.84 km a litre in 2012-13. BMTC cites slow-moving peak-hour traffic and long snarls during the rest of the day as having taken a toll on the buses’ fuel efficiency.
Due to all these factors, BMTC faced an accumulated `300 crore loss in 2013-14.
Department insiders said he corporation might break even in 2015-16 as fuel prices have fallen.