The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) catering to over 65 lakh commuters every day has invited global tenders to modernise their ST bus depots as 'Bus Ports' on the lines of those at international airports.
“We have received bids from national and international companies including the companies from Dubai and USA and even GVK, engaged in constructing Mumbai International airport, has evinced keen interest in participating in this project,” said Abhijit Bhosale, a spokesperson of MSRTC. He added that the bids will be opened on January 23, 2017 after which the clear picture about the estimated cost will emerge, about this multi-crore rupees project to be completed on a public-private participation model.
“To begin with 13 bus depots will be modernised with ultra-modern amenities including commercial complexes, shopping centres, skywalks to provide connectivity to the nearest railway stations, making commercial use of the existing land. Out of 13 depots, the layouts for nine depots are ready,” said Transport Minister, Diwakar Raote.
“The architect Shashi Prabhu has prepared the layouts for these depots, who will also function as the consultant for the project management. In addition, 40 architects have been appointed to prepare layouts for remaining bus depots. They will prepare these layouts depending upon the local needs. Also, every 'Bus Port' will be equipped with a mini-theatre,” Raote added.
The bus depots set to get a facelift in the first phase include: Borivali-Nensy Colony (Mumbai), Panvel, Shivaji Nagar, Pune, Pune Naka (Solpur), Nashik Highway bus depot, Central bus stations - Aurangabad, Nanded, Akola and More Bhavan bus depot in Nagpur. The facilities for repair and maintenance will be made available within the port complex by the party undertaking the construction of the 'Bus Port'. Meanwhile, in the second phase, the ST depots in Sangli, Dhule, Jalgaon and Kolhapur will be modernised.
Meanwhile, the salient features of the ambitious plan are that the layouts of these 13 'Bus Ports' will be identical, there will be a separate layout for commercial complex, the responsibility of providing amenities in the 'Bus Port' will be entrusted to the company undertaking the construction of the port, every 'Bus Port' will be equipped with a solar panel and rain water harvesting system, there will be separate routes for entry and exit of buses, waiting rooms will be equipped with electronic boards giving updates about arrival and departure of buses and there will be clean restaurants providing hygienic food. In Panvel the 'Bus Port' will be connected to the railway station by a skywalk. Further, there will be shopping centres on the skywalks and the ownership of the shopping centres will be with MSRTC.
Today over 18,500 old ST buses, operate on nearly 18,000 routes covering nook and corner of the state providing commutation facilities at reasonable rates, also there are nearly 326 bus stations. While students travelling by buses are given concession in bus fare, the ST buses also play important role in the transportation of newspapers and periodicals to different destinations.