VIJAYAWADA: The APSRTC said it will be operating 1,300 against the total number of 2,241 hired buses as ‘Palle Velugu’ services from Friday to improve bus connectivity to rural pockets, and ensure a hassle-free journey to passengers during the Sankranti season.Speaking to mediapersons at the RTC House here on Wednesday, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director MT Krishna Babu said the Corporation stopped operating hired buses soon after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the State in March.
By November, the RTC buses were covering 28.71 lakh km per day against 33 lakh km earlier. Keeping this in view, permissions for operation of 800 hired bus services to various parts of the State were given. “An official study found that the demand for public transport buses is increasing steadily, which was why we decided to operate the hired buses as ‘Palle Velugu’ services to cater the public in rural areas.”
On the inter-state services to Telangana, Krishna Babu said the APSRTC has reduced the number of buses plying to the state to 638 against 1,009; and the distance covered per day to 1.60 lakh km from 2.61 lakh km earlier, as per an agreement. He noted that the corporation’s Telangana counterpart, meanwhile, has increased its buses to 820 from 750, which are covering almost the same distance per day in Andhra Pradesh. “TSRTC MD Sunil Sarma, in a recent letter, has been requested to equally increase the operations between the two states, which are still recovering from the pandemic’s impact,” Krishna Babu added.
The APSRTC official, also the principal secretary of Roads and Building Department, attributed the delay in bus operations in various routes to damaged roads. A 45-day drive has been planned from January 10 by the R&B department to recarpet the damaged roads at an estimated cost of `550 crore, he informed. “Tenders will be awarded in January first week. At present, the State government is collecting `1 as cess on every litre of petrol and diesel; the amount will be used for road repair works. Our primary focus will be on recarpeting roads in high traffic corridors,” he said, adding the government has cleared pending bills amounting to `405 crore for the purpose.