Keeping In view of the tough topographical conditions of the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh, state government is giving aided priority to provide state-of- art transport facilities to the commutters upto far-flung areas. Since surface transport is the only medium of transportation in the state, all-out efforts are veing made to ensure safe & comfortable travel to the passengers.
As per the aspirations of the people, the government is endeavouring to modernize the transport system. Number of buss with modern technology have been added to the fleet besides construction, up-gradation and modernizatio of various bus stands and workshops with required facilities.
Narrow gauge lines connecting Pathankot with Jogindernagar and Kalka with Shimla are so slow moving that a very small percentage of traffic is carried by them, thereby leaving the onus of carrying the passenger traffic on to bus transport.
After the formation of Himachal, the network of roads had received top-most priority of the Government. At present the road network is widely spread in the state. The Corporation today have a fleet of 2655 buses which are plying on nearly 2400 routes across the State and covering over 4.60 lakh kilometers daily by a staff of 8619. This includes roads passing through zig-zag, curvy, mountainous, harsh & tough terrains, and roads upto 16000 feet above sea level. This poses a big challenge to the crews, and requires highly efficient driving skills.
The State Government has taken various measures for improving the performance of Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC). A pilot project for cashless ticketing is being started in Shimla town. Cash award of Rs. 1 lakh each would be given to driver and conductor in each year showing highest performance in Kilometers per litre and Rs. 1 lakh will be provided to the technical staff which would reduce the operational cost to the maximum extent.
Security of the passengers is the main priority for which rigrous training to drivers at the time of intial recruitment is imparted besides citing strict disciplinary action against the drivers committing accidents. In service training is also being given to the accident prone drivers. Ban on cassette players and fixing of bigger size rear inner view mirror. Use of breath analysers to detect driving under the influence of liquor by drivers and periodical medical check ups of drivers are also made mandatory. No bus is operated on a road unless the same is declared fit by the road inspection committee for the operation.
CCTVs have been installed in various bus stands and in phased manners all bus stands would be covered. Similarly the process is on for installing CCTVs in luxury buses like Volvo. Helpline numbers 9418000529 and 980500529 have been started for the convenience of commuters. Average 50-60 calls in respect of HRTC & Private buses are being received daily.
During past three years, 1300 new buses have been added to the HRTC fleet and 316 more buses including 16 luxury buses would shortly be added. 365 news routes have been added during the same period. These buses have been equipped with GPS, CCTV and passengers information system. Government is endeavouring to connect all the pilgrimages and historic places of the State with major towns by luxury bus services.
Online booking for all types of buses originating from Shimla, Delhi, Manali, Chamba, Dharmashala, Kangra, Baijnath, Palampur, Mcloadganj, Hamirpur, Hardwar & Chandigarh and soon the same is being extended for Rampur and Sarkaghat.
In order to make the HRTC self reliant, revenue enhancement is one of major concerns of the Government. The HRTC has introduced taxi services in Shimla town which is plying successfully on restricted routes and serving the people, particularly the senior citizens, ailing, physically challenged, women and children. The Corporation has initiated the process to introduce CNG buses for tourists on Manali-Rohtang routes.
Keeping its commitment under social obligations, the State Government is providing concessional or free travel facilities to Government Schools/ college students, Govt. employees, persons with special abilities, Police Personnels, Jail wardons etc. and Rs. 110 crore were spent annually on it.
Various steps have been taken by the State Government for the the welfare of HRTC employees. HRTC is paying pensions worth Rs. 147 crore annually to 4000 persons from its own resources which was just 47 crores in 2012-13.