SAMBALPUR: More than a year after city bus service was launched in Sambalpur city, absence of bus shelters continue to pose trouble for hundreds of passengers. Commuters are forced to wait in the middle of busy roads to catch buses to their destinations.
Sources said the Western Odisha Urban Transport Service Limited (WOUTSL) and Paschim Odisha Paribahan Company (POPCO), the two companies formed to operate the public transport system on public private partnership mode, had decided to develop 42 bus stops in the city to provide hassle-free service to the commuters. Accordingly, it was decided to construct 10 bus shelters in the first phase.
Later, transport authorities identified 10 locations - Nelson Mandela Chowk, Jail Chowk, Church Chowk, Budharaja Temple Gate, Budharaja High School, Remed Chowk, Ainthapali Chowk - and roads leading to Jharsuguda and Bargarh. However, only four shelters have come up at Ainthapali in the city. Though the requirement for bus shelters in the city has doubled in the recent days and is going to increase further, civic authorities do not appear to be giving the issue a serious thought.
Apart from sitting arrangement, it was decided to install boards displaying the routes and timings besides other details at bus stops. Even the staff of city bus are facing difficulties in absence of bus shelters. As a result, they are forced to stop midway for refreshment .
Although WOUTSL has 32 city buses at its disposal, 28 are plying on 12 routes in the city.
Chief Executive Officer of POPCO Bipin Bhatia said they would raise the issue in the next board meeting. Work on the bus stops in the city would begin soon, he added.