GUWAHATI, Aug 25 � The State Government is planning an urban transport authority for regulating public transport in Guwahati. The draft legislation for the purpose is under preparation. The State Government is also contemplating introduction of dedicated bus corridors for the exclusive use of public transport buses in the existing city bus routes of Guwahati.
What is more, parking of private vehicles is soon going to become a costly affair in the city, as more and more areas will be earmarked as no parking areas. The building owners, who have converted the parking lots in their complexes into shops etc, will be prosecuted against.
Meanwhile, the State Transport Department is trying to fully activate the city�s Betkuchi-based Driver and Conductor Training School.
Disclosing these, sources in the State Transport Department told this correspondent that the urban transport authority is envisaged not as a purely Government-run one. It is sought to be designed in a manner that will involve all the stakeholders in regulating the city�s public transport system, sources said.
This body will try to re-introduce the time-checks for the city buses, ensure haltage at scheduled stops for a prescribed period of time and to do away with the practice of carrying more passengers than the permissible limits by the vehicles engaged in the city�s public transport system.
Besides, it will also try to prevent ticketless travelling in the city buses etc. It is expected that the proposed Urban Transport Authority will come into being by March, 2012.
Dearth of qualified professional drivers has been posing a serious problem for operating the Guwahati city buses. Therefore, the Transport Department is now trying to fully activate the Betkuchi Driver and Conductor Training School. By December next, this is expected to be operative on a regular basis, sources said.
The city has around 1,200 privately operated city buses. The Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) operates around 250 city buses in Guwahati, including the ones the city has received from the Central Government under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewable Mission (JNNURM).
About 3 lakh Guwahatians use city buses to travel to various destinations every day. About 2 lakh of them travel by the city buses during the peak hours�that is, between 8-30 am and 10-30am and 3 pm and 6 pm.
Going by this estimate, Guwahati needs around 5,700 city buses, each carrying 35 passengers. For that the capacity of the city roads is to be assessed.
The public transport system in the city has some organizational problems too. As regards the city buses, there are seven organisations, including the ASTC, which are functioning independent of each another.
As regards the auto-rickshaws operating in the city, five organisations are working independently in the city, while there are three trekker owners� organisations operating without monitoring the operation of the services of the vehicles they are supposed to regulate. All these have led to a free-for-all situation concerning the public transport system of the city.
During the past one and half-a-year, the State Transport Department, the Kamrup (Metro) district administration, and the City Police tried to improve the situation through discussions, but to no avail.
The only saving grace in the city�s public transport scenario during this period is the introduction of the JNNURM buses, sources said.
By this time, Guwahati accounts for nearly 65 per cent of the total automobile vehicle population of the State, which is around 16 lakh. The number of the city�s automobile vehicles, including the motorcycles and scooters, now stands at around 10 lakh.
In 2001, the total density of automobile vehicles in the State was 682 per 100 square km. In 2010-11, it rose to around 1,800.
Unreliability of the public transport system, ever increasing distance of the city destinations with the expansion of the city, change in the life style of the people etc are behind the rise in the number of the automobile vehicles of the city and other places of the State, sources said.