More than a year after it was suspended abruptly, the city bus service would resume in Rajkot from Thursday onwards, giving residents an option besides autorickshaws for their daily travel and easing traffic on roads.
Initially, 18 minibuses would start plying on five routes from Thursday: Aji Dam to Saurashtra University via Trikon Baug, Kotharia village to Saurashtra University via Trikon Baug, Kotharia village to Nava Gam via Trikon Baug and Hospital Chowl, Madhapar village to Gokuldham via Mavdi flyover and Velnathpara to Saurashtra University via Jilla Panchayat Chowk.
The number of buses would go up to 30 by next week. Civic officers said that by December-end, 60 buses, 10 of them standard buses, would be plying on 51 routes covering all parts of the city and outskirts.
According to RMC officials, the lowest fare would be Rs 4, while the highest would be Rs 21. The frequency of buses on the outskirts would be from half-an-hour to an hour. But on busy junctions like Trikon Baug, passengers would get a bus every five minutes, city engineer Chirag Pandya said.
The Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) has awarded contract to Ahmedabad-based Shri Maruti Travels for the bus services. The private agency would roll out services on procure, operate and maintain basis with RMC paying it fixed amount per kilometre travelled. The civic body would pay the agency Rs 42 per km for standard buses and Rs 26.25 per km for minibuses. RMC has also hired an agency to provide conductors at Rs 8,500 per person per month.
“The public transport service would reduce congestion on road as we expect number of vehicles used as personal conveyance go down. This would also help reduce noise and air pollution while giving people an economical option of travelling within the city,” Pandya further said.
Shramjivi Autorickshaw Association (SAA), the organisation of auto drivers in the city, too welcomed the resumption of the service. “Though it would affect our daily earnings, we cannot oppose a service benefiting the public. We welcome the decision of RMC. The city bus would help disabled and students in particular,” SAA president Hussain Saiyad said.