Bengaluru: The government will waive off the Motor Vehicle Tax levied on BMTC buses for the next five years, a demand activists have long been fighting for.
On the 90th Bus Day on Tuesday, BMTC Chairman Nagaraj Yadav said, "In the last financial year, we incurred a loss of Rs 260 crore, of which Rs 120 crore was towards Motor Vehicle Tax. The exemption will help us cut losses by 50 percent."
"The demand was made in February and I followed up constantly with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. This saves a lot of our money and can be redirected for addition and maintenance of buses and also reduction of fares," he said, addressing a 'Janaspandana' programme held by the BMTC at Banshankari TTMC.
He told Deccan Chronicle that 120 of the 150 new hi-tech buses, inducted recently under the JNNURM, have hit the roads. These buses reduce maintenance charges. 3,000 buses were allocated in the state budget and they are yet to be procured.
“At a board meeting in June-end, 100 Volvo buses with 330 horsepower engine were rejected after the trial run as the mileage was not good. They were part of 250 Volvo buses we had planned to add to our fleet,” he said.
1,000 women drivers soon
Of the 34,000 BMTC staff, only one is a woman driver, and the transport corporation is planning to set right the skewed sex ratio.
"Under the Centre's Nirbhaya fund scheme, Rs 10 crore has been approved in principle to conduct driver training programmes for women. Applications will be opened for 1,000 women to receive heavy vehicle driver training and license, after which they can apply for the driver's post at BMTC," said Mr Chidambaram from the BMTC traffic department.
CCTV cameras in buses were approved long time back as part of Centre's scheme, but the money is yet to reach BMTC.
"We are waiting for Rs 40 crore and from that we can also add 500 CCTV cameras in regular and AC buses," he said. "We are thinking of making a separate lounge for women passengers who may have to wait for more than 15 minutes. This will be at TTMCs and depots," he said.