Millennium Post

Centre asks states, UTs to set up modern bus terminals to boost public transport

New Delhi: To encourage public transport, the Centre has asked states and Union territories to develop one modern bus port - modern bus stands equipped with a host of facilities - each that can serve as a model, for which it will provide viability gap funding.

The development comes at a time when the government's focus is to boost public transport to curb vehicular pollution as well as spurt in vehicle production. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in a letter to transport secretaries of the states has asked to ensure setting up of at least one bus port each, which can act as a model for subsequent projects by the state/UT.

"The objective hereunder is to develop high-quality bus ports in the country with assistance from the MoRTH. The development of standardised bus ports, complete with requisite infrastructure and facilities, will help in improving passenger comfort and give a much-needed boost to public bus transportation systems," the ministry has said in the guidelines sent to states. It said an allied objective was to bring private operators into mainstream by allowing their entry into bus ports, so that all bus passengers can have access to safe boarding and de-boarding locations and avail of amenities created in the bus ports such as drinking water, food, rest areas, and washrooms, among others.

The guidelines also said the bus port could be developed either as a green-field or as a brown-field project, provided that the location suggested by the participating state is found to be suitable in the feasibility study.

"The viability gap funding by MoRTH shall remain capped at 40 per cent to align it with DEA (Department of Economic Affairs) guidelines on the subject. This will be a uniform ceiling as far as funding is concerned. ln other words, irrespective of whether the bus port is large, medium or small, MoRTH funding of the capital cost shall be limited to 40 per cent of the project cost.

"To start with, at least one project would be taken up in a state so that it becomes a pilot for the state, and thereafter, the state could replicate the model as per its own decisions," the guidelines mentioned.

It said the states would be selected on the first-come-first-serve basis and only those states will be selected that commit to provide access to the buses operated by the private operators.

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has earlier said that the country needs to revamp its public transport system and a good policy is needed for this task.

To cater to a 22 per cent annual growth in the automobile sector, a separate highway lane is required which would cost not less than Rs 88,000 crore and is unviable, the minister said.

He has been stressing that public transport is the need of the hour, as it would also curb vehicular pollution.

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