Sunday, May 19, 2024

2 years on, no sign of electric buses in city


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SHILLONG, April 30: Shillong is yet to get the electric buses Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma proposed to introduce in his Budget speech two years ago.
In 2022, the CM announced that a fleet of electric buses would be introduced to address the city’s traffic woes. The e-buses remained on paper although the government rolled out STEMS buses for pooling school children to and from their educational institutions.
The SPTS buses and maxi cabs were launched in the city with much fanfare more than a decade ago. Many of these centrally sponsored vehicles were pulled off the roads for lack of maintenance.
Some of the buses and cabs, however, are still catering to the transportation needs of the people.
Assam’s Guwahati, in contrast, launched air-conditioned electric buses under its Smart City programme. These are doing a fairly good job of ferrying people across the city.
The conductors of the e-buses in Guwahati wear uniforms and issue printed tickets to each passenger unlike in Shillong where there is no accountability. There are doubts about whether the fares collected go to the government.
The Meghalaya government, meanwhile, decided to hand over the SPTS buses to some societies to run.
Post-election, there are plans to overhaul Shillong’s public transport for a faster and more efficient system.
Despite the convenience of app-based services elsewhere in the country, Shillong relies heavily on local taxis. Passengers in the city often complain of overcrowding and arbitrary fares charged by the cab operators.


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