Hyderabad: Polluting buses have no place in Telangana State Road Transport Corporation. Or that is what TSRTC officials say.
The corporation, in a bid to control air pollution and emissions by RTC buses, have phased out 2,500 buses in the last four years, with the process now being made a continuing one. Old buses that have either completed a specific distance, for instance 10 lakh km, or those that are 15 years old are the ones being phased out.
Out of the 2,500 buses that were phased out so far, around 400 buses were those plying on the roads of Hyderabad. The others included ordinary buses, Palle Velugu buses, Express, Deluxe, Super Luxury and Rajdhani buses.
There are over 10,000 buses, including 3,500 in the city, plying across the State. Being one of the major State-run public transport systems in the country, ferrying more than 90 lakh passengers every day, the corporation is striving to keep its fleet mechanically fit besides scrapping old ones at regular intervals, officials say.
According to TSRTC officials, as the engine gets old, the fuel efficiency comes down while poor maintenance leads to accumulation of carbon in the pipes, leading to large amount of smoke being emitted. At the same time, as per government rules, a bus can be operated to a maximum of 15 years as emission increases with its age. If the performance of a bus is not up to the mark, it can be phased out from the service prior to this as well.
TSRTC Executive Director (Engineer) M Ravinder said ordinary buses in the districts can run for 15 lakh km while in Hyderabad, a bus is not allowed to ply for more than 10 lakh km. Even the high-end Rajdhani bus is operated only up to 10 lakh km, he said.
All super luxury and deluxe buses are operated till 7.5 lakh km and these are converted to Palle Velugu buses, Ravindar said, adding that once these Palle Velugu buses complete another 7.5 lakh km, they are also scrapped.
Officials said the corporation was planning to phase out Vajra buses that were introduced last year after plying for 10 lakh km. These buses were designed at a cost of Rs.5 lakh and could not be operated for more years like other buses, officials said.
On the other hand, pointing out that Pushpak buses, plying to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, were emitting huge amounts of smoke, officials said they had already phased out 20 such buses. Ironically, these buses, which were acquired at a cost of Rs.35 lakh each, are being scrapped within five years of launch.