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Centre for double-decker buses on inter-state routes

The Centre has drawn up a plan to induce state road transport undertakings (SRTUs) to introduce double-decker luxury buses on long distance inter-city routes.

The 75 such routes identified across states include Delhi-Agra, Delhi-Jaipur, Lucknow-Gorakhpur, Vadodara-Mumbai, Srinagar-Jalandhar, Kozhikode-Kochi, Bengaluru-Mangalore and Vishakhapatnam-Bhubaneswar.

Union Road transport minister Nitin Gadkari reached out to state transport ministers on Tuesday to ply such buses on inter-state routes. The Centre is also considering to provide some financial assistance to the State road transport undertakings to promote this mode of transport. Sources said the bus fare could be Rs 10 per km for the first three years.

The double-decker buses will be fully air-conditioned. Officials said the main reasons behind introducing such buses on long routes are - these occupy similar road space as single-decker, but have higher profitability and capacity in comparison to single-decker buses.

The Centre's initiative comes in view of the growing share of cars and private vehicles on some of the key stretches leading to congestion.

The traffic survey data from 30,000 km of NH network has shown that the share of bus passengers per day has decreased from 45 in 2016 to 40 per cent in 2017.

On the other hand, the share of car passengers increased to 60 per cent this year from 55 per cent during 2016. "If we don't shift the car passengers to bus, we will need to expand roads frequently, which is a much expensive proposition," said an official.

Gadkari has also asked state transport ministers to take measures to end check posts for seamless movement of goods and passenger vehicles. He has asked them to adopt digital payment solutions for this.

Though all octrois have been removed from state border after the GST rollout, most of the states have not removed check-posts operated by the transport departments.


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