Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 7
The occupancy of private buses shot up to 100 per cent after a long time, as the state-run Punbus and PRTC buses were withdrawn from service due to the indefinite strike called by the Punjab Roadways Punbus Contractual Workers’ Union on Tuesday.
Their members did not block the Shaheed Madan Lal Dhingra Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT), which allowed private buses to earn a moolah.
Passengers have been preferring government buses over private ones since the introduction of free travel for women passengers.
Harjot Singh, a ticket collector in a private bus, accepted that private buses which had been at the receiving end since the introduction of the said scheme recorded a huge turnaround during the strike called by the employees of state-run buses. He said this trend was limited to the days of strike which were frequent in the wake of the run up to the Assembly election. Two phases of strike were held last month and this is the first phase of indefinite strike this month.
Sarbjit Singh, a driver with a private bus, said family segment of passengers preferred state-run buses due to the free travel scheme. Passengers usually turn to private buses after the government buses are packed to their capacity.
Jodh Singh, senior vice-president of the union, said the meeting between the representatives of his union and Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is scheduled to take place at the CM House in Chandigarh on September 10. “Its conclusion will decide how they will steer their agitation. In case the government does not listen to their demands positively, then they will be compelled to hold intensify their protests.”
A majority of the state-run buses ply on long routes. Yet there are ample choices for passengers to choose from a variety of private-run buses who charge the same tariff.
The Punjab Roadways Punbus Contractual Workers’ Union demanded that the Capt Amarinder Singh government must increase the number of buses to 10,000 buses, regularise all contractual workers under the PRTC as there were nearly 7,500 contractual workers in the Punbus and PRTC across the state, including 400 contractual workers in the district.
Meanwhile, since buses under the Punjab Roadways are driven by regular staff, its buses plied without any trouble.
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