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NWKRTC hit by private bus service between Hubli and Dharwad

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, DEC. 2. The Minister for Transport and Water Resources, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, today said the operation of private buses between Hubli and Dharwad had badly hit the revenue of the North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation.

He told presspersons that Bendre Nagar Sarige (BNS), a private enterprise, was allowed to operate buses between the twin cities following a decision to let private players run buses in a 20-km radius of district headquarters. (A notification was issued in December 2003, following which the BNS was allowed to operate buses.)

Rivalry

He said that allowing private bus services sometimes led to unhealthy competition between them and the State-owned corporations, including the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). The private operators charged uneconomical rates to attract commuters and deprived the KSRTC of revenue. But the private operators lost interest after the initial "josh" (euphoria). The KSRTC was different in that it continued to operate its services whether it made profit or loss.

There was a need for measures that would help the road transport corporations and commuters.

After the Hubli experience, the Government had passed an order disallowing private bus operators in a 20-km radius of district headquarters. Instead, the KSRTC or other State-owned transport corporations would operate the required number of buses.

To a question, he said the future of the BNS depended on the fate of a case pending in court. The Law Department was looking into different aspects of the case.

He said the NWKRTC was operating 3,755 buses and earning a profit of Rs. 1.61 crores a year. This year, the NWKRTC would add 200 new schedules to the existing 3,512. Most of the new services would be operated in rural areas, he said.

Volvo service

Mr. Kharge also launched a Volvo bus service between Hubli and Tirupati. He flagged off two buses (each costing Rs. 53 lakhs) for the service.

The Minister said this was part of the NWKRTC's plans to start six Volvo services. Two buses would soon start operating between Belgaum and Bangalore and two between Hubli and Mumbai.

The 45-seater buses would commence regular operations from Hubli and Tirupati on Friday.

K.M. Venkataramanappa, Chief Traffic Manager of the NWKSRTC, said the bus would leave Hubli at 2.30 p.m. and reach Tirupati at 6 a.m. the next day, via Bangalore. The bus from Tirupati would leave at 4 p.m. and reach Hubli at 7 a.m. the next day.

The fare between Tirupati and Hubli (650 km) was Rs. 570 and between Bangalore and Tirupati Rs. 250.

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