Filthy & rickety ASTC bus makes passengers furious!
Tiwari paints a rosy picture of ASTC’s future
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Oct 18: Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) has, of late, has some advanced fleets of buses plying in Guwahati. However, the state of affairs of its long-distance buses, according to allegations from passengers, is disgustingly dirty.
An instant incident that seeks to corroborate the allegations is the condition of an ASTC bus bound-for Digboi on Wednesday from ISBT, Guwahati. The bus was to leave for Digboi at 6.39 am from ISBT, Guwahati for Digboi. After boarding the bus at 6.30 am passengers found the bus was disgustingly filthy and rickety. The bus had betel-nut spittle here and there, dust particles and other discarded materials inside it. The condition of the bus made the passengers to lodge a verbal complaint with the driver only to know that he himself was not satisfied with the condition of the bus. “This is the bus given to me to ferry passengers from Guwahati to Digboi by ASTC. I myself am not satisfied with the condition of the bus that has been brought straight from the garage. The bus is rickety, and I’m not sure if we can reach Digboi with this bus or not,” a passenger quoted the driver of the bus as saying.
The aggrieved passenger further said: “ASTC charges Rs 500/600 as fares from long-distance passengers same as being charged by privately-run buses. However, the condition of private buses is better than ASTC buses. They’re clean. When such differences of the condition of buses and neatness are glaringly visible, why won’t passengers opt to private buses when they face question of choice between the two?”
This is essentially an instance that will certainly fall short of generalizing the state of affairs in ASTC. To delve deep into the matter, this reporter contacted ASTC MD AP Tiwari and let him know the condition of the Digboi-bound ASTC bus on Wednesday and the passengers’ displeasure over it. “Matters of these sorts are being looked after by station masters. If the driver knew it that the Digboi-bound bus wasn’t fit for the journey, he has every right to inform it to the station master concerned. He, however, failed to do that. Drivers recruited in ASTC are generally matriculates, and as such they’re not well versed in their communication with passengers. We’re trying to recruit educated people as drivers in the corporation so as to bridge such communication gaps,” Tiwari said.
Tiwari, however, paint a rosy picture of ASTC’s future. “ASTC is in transition. We’re taking a lot of new initiatives that are bound to uplift the Corporation on all fronts. We’re going to provide passengers clean and hygienic lavatories and toilets at various places on their routes. From February next passengers won’t have to go to ticket counters to collect ASTC tickets. They will be able to get tickets from the bus itself just by swiping their ATM cards,” Tiwari said, and added: “A fleet of long-distance air-conditioned buses will be pressed into service from February-March next. Eighty per cent concession of jourlists’ fares was declared earlier but it is still to be effective. The announcement is going to be effective from February-March next. ”
On Wednesday’s incident involving the Digboi-bound bus from Guwahati, Tiwari said: “I’ll take up the matter with right earnestness. ASTC buses are going to wear a new look from February next.”