The four member committee headed by Transport Commissioner, comprises of Nashik Municipal Corporation's (NMC) commissioner Abhishek Krushna, managing director of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and a joint or deputy secretary of Urban Development Department as its member secretary
Maharashtra government has set up a four member committee of bureaucrats to dwell on turning around loss making public transport services operated by various urban civic bodies in the state.
A Government Resolution (GR) issued by the Urban Development Department on September 15, states that the committee has been set up to take a policy decision on reviving these loss making public transport services.
The four member committee headed by Transport Commissioner, comprises of Nashik Municipal Corporation's (NMC) commissioner Abhishek Krushna, managing director of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and a joint or deputy secretary of Urban Development Department as its member secretary.
The GR stated that although the public transport services operated by urban local bodies in the state are incurring losses, they are beneficial for the common man.
It further stated that urban poor, labourers cannot afford autorickshaw fares and hence the city bus services should be kept in operation.
The GR however, does not specify any time limit, or lays down any terms of reference or directs the committee to seek opinion from traffic or transport experts.
As per the state's Economic Survey for 2016-17, there are 13 cities in Maharashtra that operate city bus services.
These include: Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Mira-Bhayander, Vasai-Virar, Kalyan-Dombivali, Khopoli, Pune, Kolhapur, Solapur, Amravati, Ahmednagar and Nagpur.
The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) shut down its city bus services two years ago. Besides this, the state owned MSRTC too operates city bus services.
Barring Khopoli and Amravati municipal corporation which are earning profits of few lakhs of rupees, the rest including BEST in Mumbai are incurring losses.
Interestingly, the Urban Development Department on June 1 earlier this year had issued a draft State Urban Transport, Policy (SUTP) inviting input from public and transport experts on improving public transport in the state.
The SUTP seeks to prioritise sustainable modes of transport like walking, cycling and public transport and dissuade use of personal motor vehicles.