TIRUNELVELI: Over 35,000 passengers have already reserved seats in government buses this festival season and if required, additional services will be operated, noted Transport Minister RS Rajakannappan during a press meet at the Collectorate in Tirunelveli on Wednesday.
On bus services during Deepavali, he added, “Over 17,000 special buses will be operated across the State. If the need arises, additional services will be launched. Private bus operators have been warned against charging above government-fixed ticket rates, and Road Transport Officers will monitor the services. Rule violation will invite legal action, and the bus will be seized.”
With Deepavali on November 4, high patronage is expected between November 1 and 3. Concerning the recent measures implemented by the department, Rajakannappan added, “Steps were taken to remove middlemen for driving license applications. Learners license and renewal of the document can now be applied online. Similarly, the cost of washing vehicles has been reduced from Rs 62 to Rs 30. While the previous government bought bus seats at `262 per piece, through tender we are now procuring it for Rs 178 per piece, including tax. Further, tyres that were purchased earlier could run only for 42,000 km. We are buying tyres that will for 54,000 km.”
There are 20,555 government buses in the State, and steps have been initiated to purchase as many as 2,210 diesel and 500 electric buses. The electric buses will be initially operated in Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai, after setting up charging points.
“Recruitment for around 6,000 staff will also be taken up soon by the department. A committee has been formed to decide on the matters of pension and other benefits. The committee will soon hold a discussion with the employees in this regard,” the minister further said.