Ludhiana: State buses used to ferry AAP workers, commuters left in lurch
A total of 963 buses from Punjab Roadways and PRTC (Punjab Road Transport Corporation) across the state were dedicated to transport AAP workers from different cities to Amritsar
The massive mobilisation of state buses to transport Aam Aadmi Party workers for the inauguration of Punjab’s first ‘School of Eminence’ in Amritsar on Wednesday saw its impact on bus operations at the Ludhiana depot also where nearly 40% vehicles were deployed for the purpose, leading to long waiting hours for commuters at the terminal.
A total of 963 buses from Punjab Roadways and PRTC (Punjab Road Transport Corporation) across the state were dedicated to transport AAP workers from different cities to Amritsar.
In preparation for the inauguration of Punjab’s first ‘School of Eminence’, the state’s transport department had issued a list to Punjab Roadways and PRTC to depute buses to specific constituencies and areas across Punjab.
Out of 1,100 buses, a total of 295 buses from nine different PRTC depots were directed to be deployed for the event. Additionally, 668 buses out of 1,750 from 18 depots were requisitioned from Punjab Roadways for the event in Amritsar.
From Ludhiana bus stand, Punjab Roadways deputed 39 buses for the event. A total of six buses were deployed to central constituency, 10 to south constituency, 16 to Jagraon and seven buses to north constituency.
PRTC deputed 50 buses from Ludhiana for the event. As many as ten buses were deployed to the Gill constituency, 10 to Sahnewal constituency, 10 to Dakha constituency, five to Raikot, five to Payal constituency, five to Samrala and five to Khanna constituency.
In Ludhiana, where there are usually around 150 time slots allocated for Amritsar routes, only 80 were operational due to the shortage of buses. Furthermore, only 120 time slots were assigned to Punjab Roadways and PRTC buses for the Chandigarh route, compared to the regular allocation of 180 time slots.
Likewise, only 35 time slots were assigned for Ambala route, compared to regular allocation of 50 time slots.
The shortage of buses had an impact on bus services with commuters facing huge inconvenience.
Normally, buses to Chandigarh are available every 10 minutes, but passengers reported waiting for nearly two hours for a bus. Ludhiana Bus Stand is a major transportation hub where over 1,000 buses operate daily.
Gurmail Singh, a passenger, expressed his frustration, saying, “I have waited for around two hours for a Punjab Roadways bus to Chandigarh. Due to the shortage of buses, people were suffering at the city bus stand.”
Another passenger, Jaswinder Kaur shared her experience, highlighting the challenges faced by travellers on crucial routes.
“A large number of passengers were waiting for buses on routes to Amritsar, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Ambala, which are some of the busiest routes. I arrived at the Ludhiana Bus Stand at around 1 pm and boarded my bus to Chandigarh at around 2:30 pm. I might miss my train from Chandigarh to Yamunanagar.”
Sharanjit Singh Kalsi, president of the Azad Taxi Union Punjab, highlighted the financial impact, stating, “Every bus generates a minimum profit of ₹10,000, and around 90 buses were not in service, resulting in a loss of approximately ₹9 lakh at the Ludhiana Bus Stand. Additionally, nearly ₹1 crore in losses were incurred by the transport department solely for the Amritsar event as around 1,000 buses were deputed for this event.”
Navraj Battish, the general manager of Ludhiana Bus Stand, said, “As many as 39 buses from Punjab Roadways were deputed for the Amritsar event from Ludhiana, but we managed passengers by deploying buses strategically on different routes. People did not suffer significantly because a special timetable was implemented to ensure a smooth commute on the busiest and other routes.”