Bus stands set for revamp with bogs, water ATMs

KOLKATA: The earlier rickety, rundown buses have changed to abig, swanky avatar but the condition of bus-stops had, so far, remained woeful. Now, the state transport department has decided to upgrade the bus-stops, complete with and water dispensers. () has started revamping 20 stops in and around the city and earmarked 20 more.
“We are standardising the bus stands. So far, the bus stops were built according to the taste and whims of local councillors. Some are very big, some rudimentary, while some are fancy but difficult to use. Some are too ‘posh’ but kept under lock and key. There are bus stops on roads, where no bus plies, like the one on Shakepeare Sarani. We also have stands on both sides of a road that is forever one-way,” said , managing director, WBTC. “So, we are eliminating these anomalies and setting up bus stands after detailed discussion with the police. Besides adding passenger friendly amenities, we are taking bus stops a few yards from the road intersections so that passengers boarding and alighting the vehicles can no longer congest the crossings.”

Two terminuses—one at Garia and the other at Jadavpur—will be built as model stands. The Garia facility will be the swankiest, with a cafeteria, toilet blocks and an entertainment zone that will offer free Wi-fi services. To be constructed at a cost of Rs 10.7 crore, the ground floor of the two-storey structure will have the bus stand and the other facilities. The first floor will be used as parking lot for cars in the congested Garia area. The Jadavpur terminus will be a smaller version of the Garia facility but it will have similar passenger amenities.

The other stands, 20 of them, may not have the cafeterias and entertainment zones but will have toilets, water ATMs—a machine from where commuters can buy water bottles—and electronic boards that will display the real-time movement of buses on the routes. Each bus stand will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 3.35 crore.

“In the first phase, we have chosen 20 stands at places within the city, like Joka, Thakurpukur, Parnashree, Kudghat, Patuli, Ballygunge, Paikpara, Dum Dum, Airport, Howrah, Dakshineswar, Chapadali. The amenities to be constructed at those places will later be replicated in other parts of the city. The especially rundown stops in the heart of the city will also be renovated soon,” said a WBTC official.

Nigam pointed out the corporation had worked towards providing advanced bus services and passenger amenities. “Buses can be tracked online and through apps. Commuters can go online and get information, such as the travel time of a particular route and availability of buses on that route,” he said. “Our next big step is augmentation of bus stands to ensure seamless embarkation and disembarkation. Once the stops are ready, we will prohibit buses from stopping midway, to allow passengers either to alight or board the vehicles.”

In the second phase, the corporation will take up 20 more stands for renovation. Those will be at places around the city and beyond, such as Amta, Ariadaha, Domjur, Ghatakpukur, Harimohan Ghosh College, Dunlop, Madhyamgram, Munshigunj, Tikiapara, Gadiara, Amtala, Namkhana and Usti.

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