The Gurugaman bus service, which was flagged off on September 2 by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, is proving to be too expensive for the majority of its target consumers.
At present, commuters travelling on the new public bus service are being charged Rs 10 for journeys up to five stops, Rs 20 for up to 20 stops and Rs 30 for trips exceeding 20 stops. Only one route is currently operational, running both clockwise and anti-clockwise from Basai Chowk to Huda City Centre and back.
In comparison, the Haryana Roadways city buses, which ply along parts of this route, charge only Rs 5 for travel within the city. There is also competition from the informal sector, in the form of ‘sharing autos’, which charge up to Rs 10 per head for journeys to Bakhtawar Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, Subhash Chowk and Atul Kataria Chowk, all of which are key locations on the route of buses run by the Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited (GMCBL).
As a result, many commuters are choosing to give the service a miss. Yatin Chowdhury, who lives near Basai Chowk, still prefers to travel using Haryana Roadways buses. “They are quicker, cheaper and don’t have as many stops,” he says.
Vivek Gupta, another commuter who regularly travels between Huda City Centre and Bakhtawar Chowk, prefers taking a sharing auto. “It costs half the amount, and takes half the time,” he said.
While he admits that sharing autos are not as comfortable as the GMCBL’s low-floor buses, Gupta says, “A little discomfort is okay. I am more concerned about the time and money.”
Complaint books that have been left with conductors are also filled with the same complaint from multiple passengers. “Everyone agrees that the fares are too expensive,” said one conductor on Tuesday.
“People get on the bus, and then immediately get off on hearing the prices,” he added.
A senior member of the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System’s (DIMTS) vigilance team, which is consulting with the GMCBL on the city bus project, said that the GMCBL had been advised to revise its prices. However, multiple GMCBL officials who spoke with the Hindustan Times said there were no plans to do so.
Chander Shekhar Khare, CEO, GMCBL, did not respond to request for comment.
The second route of the service, from Sector 2 to Ghata village, is expected be launched in October once JBM Auto, the bus manufacturer, delivers the next batch of vehicles.
Authorities say that by March 2019, a total of 200 low-floor non-air conditioned CNG buses are expected to ply along 11 routes — as part of Phase-1.