Stalled buses, union strikes, faulty tech cripple Chandigarh Transport

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With almost half of its fleet of buses off the roads over the past few days, Chandigarh Transport Undertaking is in a dismal state. Frequent strikes by the union, buses awaiting clearance after a stand-off with the State Transport Authority (STA) and buses being withdrawn from the long routes are some of the other problems ailing the CTU.

The CTU has a fleet of 517 buses. Of these, around 100 were condemned, having outlived their life span of eight years. More than 100 buses are awaiting clearance by STA. Around 275 buses are still plying on the roads. Due to the stand-off between CTU and STA, more than 100 buses are off the roads for the past several weeks. STA has refused to clearance to the buses till these are insured. CTU was unable to find a company to insure the buses. With New India Insurance having shown interest in insuring them, it is being expected that in the coming days, this might materialise. Till then the buses will not be able to ply.

With buses stalled, the frequency of buses in the city is hit. Commuters have to wait for a longer time to catch a bus. To tide over the shortage, buses from long routes were withdrawn and shifted to local routes. Some months ago, after directions from the UT Administrator, buses from long routes were taken off and made to ply within the city. Due to this, there are very few CTU buses on long routes.

The global positioning system has not been functioning properly in all buses. The boards installed at bus stops and bus stands to indicate time of arrival have been damaged over time.

The interference of the CTU workers' union and protests against all policy decisions of the management is also creating problems for the CTU. The latest in the series of protests is against the terms and conditions of the contract for the purchase of new buses. The workers' union is against giving the annual maintenance contract of the new buses being purchased to the companies from where the buses are to be procured.

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