Manoj K Karia, Ahmedabad: The AMTS, which provides transport services to citizens in Ahmedabad, is struggling to stay afloat.
The service which was already a loss-making unit is under severe financial stress due to COVID-19.
The AMTS service in Ahmedabad is suffering a loss of Rs80 lakh per day since it resumed service post-Unlock.
The number of routes has been reduced due to the low presence of passengers.
Two routes have been cancelled due to poor passenger numbers.
Several routes have also been shortened due to poor demand.
The low income has widened the deficit for the transport service.
Every year the AMC has to pump in Rs350 crore to keep the service going.
Per day losses at Rs86 crore
The AMTS is incurring a loss of Rs80 crore every day despite the reduced number of buses plying on the road.
On normal days, the loss amounts to Rs86 crore for the 706 buses that run across the city.
On the face of it, AMTS seems to have reduced its losses due to lower buses being operational.
But this has also increased the deficit between income and expenditure.
The service has suffered a loss of Rs45 lakh for the period post lockdown.
The service was in survival mode only due to the Rs350 crore being pumped into it by the corporation.
But now post Lockdown, it seems to be on a ventilator.
The administrators are now demanding a package to keep the service functioning.
On normal days it ran 706 buses
On a given day, before lockdown, the service had 706 buses covering 149 routes and undertaking 7673 trips.
The per-day income was Rs33.67 lakh.
The expenses for running the buses came to Rs117.83 lakh per day.
This included the cost of diesel, repairing charges as well as salary and other benefits of employees.
The service thus endures a loss of Rs84.16 crore every day.
Post Lockdown only 355 AMTS buses on the road
Given the low number of passengers due to COVID-19, the AMTS has only 355 buses running across 72 routes.
They make 4276 trips in a day.
Moreover, guidelines allow for the bus to run at 50% of its carrying capacity.
As a result, the per day income of the service has come down to mere Rs4 lakh.
But it’s expenses continue to be around Rs84.25 lakh.
The service is thus enduring a loss of Rs80 lakh per day post the Lockdown.
Small buses operating on 10 routes
The service has decided to offer buses as per the demand from passengers for post-COVID-19 times.
Those routes that have fewer passengers now have small buses.
In all, 10 routes have 29 small buses operating on the same.
The buses are replaced with big ones if the demand sees a surge.
Two routes, 160 trips cancelled
The AMTS service has cancelled two routes and 160 trips so far since it began functioning post the Lockdown.
The 89/3 bus on the Vadaj/Sarathi (Chandkheda) route has been stopped and merged with the route that goes from Paldi to Sarthi Bungalows.
The route between Lal Darwaja and Kalupur was also stopped.
More pensioners than staff
A substantial chunk of AMTS’s expenses come by way of staff salary and pension.
The service is also encouraging private buses and has stopped recruitment post-1997 to control costs.
Several employees were transferred as AMTS reduced its services.
But the service began in 1947 and several employees are on pension.
One estimate states that 65% of the service’s expenses are towards the pensions of its employees.