Transport secretary Davidar plans to open 100 fuel outlets across highways in Tamil Nadu to bridge the revenue gap; proposal to monetise land belonging to State transport undertakings; blames low fares for bleeding; admits bus fleet is in poor condition
CHENNAI: Transport secretary P W C Davidar is a worried man. As Chairman of the State transport corporations he finds them losing as much as Rs 8 crore a day. “It is like putting such a huge amount into the garbage,” says Davidar. He is working out a plan to ensure that the transport corporations don’t bleed badly.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a session on Chennai Infra, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry on Thursday. Citing the low bus fares, he says the fleet of State transport undertakings (STUs) is in poor condition and it is only due to the hard work of the employees in the depot that the aging buses are able to run.
Davidar says that the fares collected by STUs buses is among the lowest in India. “Most of the neighbouring states have revised the fares. We still charge 42 paise per km while the neighbouring states charge 62 paise per km,” he points out.
The transport department is planning to open 100 retail fuel outlets on the State and national highways with the help of the three oil majors - Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum to ensure that funds are generated by the transport sector to support the STUs.
“In the next two weeks work will start in this regard. In the first stage, we will be zeroing on places suitable for such fuel outlets. In the second stage, we will go for bidding. Capital expenditure will be made by the three oil majors,” he adds.
Davidar is also planning to monetise the land owned by State corporation buses to get additional income. “We are looking at various locations in the State. These could be coverted as shopping outlets, restaurants or ATMs. “We will also urge the private sector to invest in it.”
The transport department is also looking at revenue from advertisement through the newly procured 2,000 buses. “These buses will have mechanism to hold the frame of advertisements,” he says.
The passenger information system will be implemented in the next few months. Under the system, commuters will be provided information about the buses electronically. It is learnt that organisations like IIT, Madras, Anna University, Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and other organisations are being roped in to work on specifications for implementing the system.