GUWAHATI, Sept 6 - At least 300 buses of the Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) are lying idle for quite some time and steps have now been initiated to bring those to the roads for the benefit of the people of the State. The ASTC is also chalking out a plan to properly utilize its properties all over the State to augment its income so that the passenger amenities can be improved.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, the managing director of the ASTC, AP Tiwari said that at present, around 400 buses of the ASTC are on the roads, but at least 300 others are lying idle for some time. He said that a decision has been taken to bring all the buses on the roads in phased manner. He revealed that some of the buses lying idle only need minor repair like change of batteries or other minor parts and those would be repaired and brought on the roads in the first phase. Those, which need major repairs, would be brought back to the roads in phased manner. He expressed the hope that the communication network would be improved considerably once all the buses are brought to the roads. He further revealed that the ASTC would start the process of acquiring new buses in phased manner to increase the strength of the fleet of its buses. �Procuring new buses is a continuous process and that will go on,� he added.
On the steps to be initiated for the economic revival of the ASTC, Tiwari said that the ultimate aim is to transform the Corporation into a commercially competent organization. He revealed that the ASTC has properties on prime locations all over the State and those can be utilized commercially to augment revenue collection. He said that a study is on to finalize which property can be used for what purpose. For example, a restaurant can flourish in some parts of the State, while, shopping malls can be successful in others, he pointed out. The ASTC can earn substantial amounts of revenue with proper utilization of its available resources. The ASTC is also planning to strengthen its courier service to include cargo transport.
The ASTC MD pointed out that the second part of augmenting the ASTC is improving passenger amenities , which include improvement of the condition of all the buses. He said that the condition of the waiting rooms of the ASTC bus stands would be improved in phased manner and other facilities like e-ticketing, introduction of smart cards for the passengers, etc., are also on the pipeline.