Inter-state bus service may resume soon: Lockdown eats up 82% of expected revenue of HP Road Transport Corp

a truck with a mountain in the background (C) Provided by The Indian Express

The Himachal Pradesh government may soon resume inter-state bus services, which have remained suspended since March, Transport Minister Bikram Singh Wednesday said. "We will reach a decision in this regard within 10-15 days. We're holding talks with our neighbouring states regarding the resumption of services.

Punjab and Chandigarh have already given a nod. We also approached the Uttarakhand government to restart the bus to Haridwar. They initially said it's not possible but are now considering it," said Singh after chairing a meeting of the State Transport Development and Road Safety Council.

After the first lockdown in March, bus service within the state had resumed in June, but inter-state service has remained suspended so far. Singh said that around 1,700 services within the state have resumed, including 15 night services, even though losses are being incurred on more than 50 percent of the routes due to low occupancy. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation lost Rs 282 crore, or 82 per cent of the expected revenue, during the Covid pandemic, earning Rs 48 crore from June 1 (when bus service was resumed) till October 5, Singh said.

He said that the total number of road accidents in Himachal reduced from 3,110 in 2018 to 2,873 in 2019, and the number of persons who died in accidents decreased from 1,202 to 1,146 during this period. The number of those injured also dropped from 5,551 in 2018 to 4,904 in 2019. The minister said that the public works department, police and HRTC have identified 90, 195 and 169 accident-prone spots or 'black spots' respectively, out of which 72, 79 and 29 have been rectified so far.

Bus and taxi drivers have also been asked to report vulnerable spots, he said.

Singh said that 95 per cent of the road accident occur due to human errors, and 62.86 per cent accidents are caused by over-speeding. "The department has launched a comprehensive road-safety campaign in schools, villages and towns, and people are being encouraged to follow good driving habits.

Since a majority of the road accident victims are aged 20 to 30, it is very important to impart road safety awareness at the school level," he said.

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