Saturday, August 6, 2011

Luxury ride in AC buses now a reality in Patna

PATNA: A luxury ride in hi-tech, air-conditioned city buses is no more a dream for Patnaites now. To give some relief from the heat to local commuters, state transport minister Brishen Patel on Friday flagged off the much-awaited AC city buses at SK Memorial Hall here.

On the occasion, Patel made an announcement that was music to the ears of travellers within the state. "Within two months we will start AC buses connecting the state capital with all the 38 districts of the state. We also have plans to construct ultra-modern bus stops in Patna," he said.

With Friday's launch, as many as seven 36-seater AC buses joined the fleet of existing 70 non-AC city buses. These Marco Polo buses of Tata Motors have, besides AC, ultra-modern safety and passenger comfort features such as Global Positioning System (GPS), emergency alarm button, emergency window, inbuilt fire extinguisher, electronic ticketing machine, music system etc.

These maroon-coloured city buses will operate on three routes from 8am to 8pm. Route one will have three buses that would leave from Gandhi Maidan for Danapur via Fraser road, Patna junction, GPO, R-block, Income-tax roundabout, Bailey road and Saguna More. On route four, two buses will start from Gandhi Maidan to Gai Ghat via PMCH and Tripolia Hospital.

Two buses will run on route seven, which is Gandhi Maidan to Gandhi Maidan ring service via Rajapur, Kurji, IIT, Patliputra roundabout, A N College, Boring Road crossing, Bailey Road, Income-Tax roundabout and Patna junction.

The fares of AC buses are Rs 10, Rs 15 and Rs 30, depending upon the distance travelled. These buses would be available at their stoppage after every one-and-a-half hour. Seven seats would be reserved for women and two for physically challenged or senior citizens.

The monthly passes issued for non-AC buses would not be valid for AC ones. But Patel said, "Our department is planning to start special passes for students, mediapersons and regular travellers for these buses too."

"One more AC bus will soon be pressed into service which will run between the local airport and city," a senior official of Eden Transport, the firm which operates the city buses, told TOI.

While city bus service was launched in the state capital on May 15, such a service was launched in Muzaffarpur on August 1. In the next phase, similar service would be started in Gaya, Darbhanga and Bhagalpur. 

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