Aurangabad has a high felt need for good public transportation. Currently, this requirement is primarily provisioned by personal vehicle usage and auto-rickshaws. In a survey conducted as part of the preparation of Aurangabad Smart City proposal, over 61% respondents indicated public transport as a priority project.
Considering this requirement, the ASCDCL Board approved the Aurangabad City Bus project as a public service initiative and resolved to secure funds not only for investments in setting up of the city bus service but also for sustaining the operations during the first five years of the project. Further, the ASCDCL Board approved the procurement of 150 buses out of which 100 will be procured in Phase 1.
The procurement of 100 Midi buses compliant with Urban Bus Specifications II issued by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) is currently underway. The tendering process is completed and contract was awarded to Tata Motors Limited. ASCDCL has issued the purchase order to Tata Motors Limited. Furthermore, ASCDCL has appointed Central Institute of Road Transport Pune for the inspection of buses.
The prototype of the bus is expected to be ready by the end of October 2018 and the delivery of first lot of buses is expected to begin by the end of November 2018. The delivery of all 100 buses is expected to be completed by the end of January 2019. ASCDCL has sought the opinion of the public on the color and design of the buses and is currently in the process of finalizing the color and design scheme with people’s participation.
The ASCDCL Board deliberated various options for operations and maintenance of buses and arrived at the conclusion that partnering with MSRTC for the same offers several advantages in terms of capacity, experience, service levels, reliability, ready availability of depot/support infrastructure and costs. Therefore, in its meeting dated 12th Sep 2018, the ASCDCL Board resolved to partner with MSRTC for operations and maintenance of the city buses on account of the MSRTC’s domain expertise, experience of operating buses in Aurangabad city and public ownership. While MSRTC will operate and maintain the buses and collect fare revenue, the ownership of the project shall vest with ASCDCL. ASCDCL is in the process of setting up a core transport division within the SPV which shall have the key managerial personnel who will oversee the provisioning of the service in partnership with MSRTC. This division shall be known as Aurangabad City Transport (ACT) or औरंगाबाद शहर पररवहन.
The salient features of the partnership between ASCDCL and MSRTC are summarized in the following points:
a) ASCDCL will procure the buses and hand them over to MSRTC for operations, maintenance and fare collection.
b) MSRTC shall provide drivers, conductors, mechanics and other critical staff along with depots, parking space and other support infrastructure such as e-ticketing machines for fare collection.
c) MSRTC shall operate and maintain the buses and shall have the right to collect fare revenue through its conductors (via e-ticketing machines). The revenue, however, shall accrue directly to ASCDCL.
d) ASCDCL shall pay MSRTC for the costs incurred.
e) ASCDCL shall provide bus stops for the service and facilitate the availability of key operational data pertaining to location tracking, driving diagnostics, etc., to MSRTC through on-bus ITS components.
f) ASCDCL shall have a core Transport Division led by a Transport Manager that will oversee the provisioning of service. The responsibility of route selection, obtaining permissions and clearances, fare setting and revision (taking MSRTC fare structure and fare revision formula as the indicative benchmark), and overall monitoring shall be with ASCDCL.
g) The Smart City project funds will be utilized to facilitate the service to people during the first five-years of the project. The revenue collected during the first five years shall be used to sustain the service thereafter.
h) MSRTC shall provide ASCDCL with technical assistance for route selection, preparation of fleet deployment plan, schedules and other prerequisites critical for commencement of service.
i) A senior representative of MSRTC shall be appointed to ASCDCL Board as an invitee member.