AC buses not viable in Visakhapatnam

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Poor frequency means buses are last on citizens’ preference.

Visakhapatnam: Though the inter-district low-floor AC buses operated under the Jawahar-lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) have been registering good occupancy rate, the APSRTC authorities do not find the service viable within the city limits.

With the summer getting more severe each year, some sections of the public have been demanding AC city bus service. Even as the 17 Volvo AC buses plying from Visakhapatnam to districts such as Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Rajah-mundry and Kakinada cover parts of the city, there is no AC bus service so far within the city limits.

The inter-district AC buses cover some busy stretches of the city but people do not find it convenient for their poor frequency.

Asked about AC bus services, APSRTC executive director (Vizianaga-ram zone) A. Ramakris-hna said, “Inter-district buses register good occupancy rate with an average of 80 per cent seats getting filled. The challenge was there to run them in winter season, but people travel in these buses throughout the season due to its comfort ride. However, plying the AC buses only for the Vizag city limits would not be viable”.

Regional manager of APSRTC (Vizag) G. Sud-esh Kumar added that the city has got short routes and running AC buses would be an expensive affair.

Higher officials from APSRTC said the extended time period for the projects taken up under the JNNURM scheme would come to an end in March this year. From 2015, the projects, be it the low-floor buses, were being funded from the AMRUT scheme. The new buses could be procured only when fund is released from the central scheme like AMRUT.

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