With around 70 lakh population, Hyderabad is one of the most populous cities in India. Hyderabad city provides a number of employment opportunities – both white collar and blue collar jobs; thus it attracts people from different places across India to come and work. A large number of working population in Hyderabad depends on public transport to travel. Not only employees, school/college students to job seekers, kids to senior citizens, and housewives to maids, almost everybody travels in state owned public transport – APSRTC (Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation).
Why people in Hyderabad prefer APSRTC?
Though there are different means of public transport like SETWIN buses (sponsored by State Government but not part of APSRTC), MMTS (local trains), autos, hire cabs, etc., APSRTC buses (generally called as city buses/RTC buses) are most preferred choice for many people in Hyderabad.
Many people travel in city buses because:
•Economical -With four rupees, you can travel up to 3 kms in ordinary bus in Hyderabad city. You can travel from Dilsukhnagar to Secunderabad (around 13 kms) with just Rs.11. On a side note, the fuel price hikes in the state are forcing people to lock their vehicles at their home.
•Comfortable -People find traveling in city buses more comfortable than traveling in other vehicles, sometimes they prefer city buses over their personal vehicles. They need not deal with traffic jams, common during peak hours at various points in the city. The seating and ventilation in buses is very decent. Since these buses are bigger, they have better shock absorbers that assist in comfortable journey on the uneven roads of Hyderabad.
•Less exposure to pollution -Seats in RTC buses are much higher off the ground. Unlike in autos and other vehicles, passengers will not have any issues with smoke coming in to the vehicle from exhaust pipes of other vehicles.
•Safe and secure -Compared to other transportation options, RTC buses are very safe. Drivers generally are well trained and know how to drive in the city. You can see their driving skills in narrow roads with full public, like in Sultan Bazaar, Koti.
•Convenience – RTC buses cover almost every area in the city. You will find a bus stop for every half km in the core city. Though most of the buses start at around 6 am, there are some services which will start as early as 3:30 am in the morning. You can find buses plying in the city till midnight.
APSRTC – major player in public transport:
The above mentioned reasons will definitely make them the most preferred options to travel in the city. This may be the reason why APSRTC does pretty good job in providing transportation to the citizens of the city despite consistent revenue losses. We will see some interesting statistics about APSRTC buses (only city services, not district) that made them a people’s choice.
•According to the latest statistics, 72% of the people in Hyderabad use public transport (buses, autos, cabs, MMTS) as the primary means of transportation. Out of which 98% depend on APSRTC.
•The organization maintains a bus fleet with more than 4,000 buses plying in different routes covering almost all the areas – not only in the core city but also the sub – urban areas.
•Everyday RTC buses make nearly 40,000 trips in the city, carrying around 36 lakh (on avg.) people.
•From 2,480 buses in 2000-02, RTC buses in city increased to 3,521 buses in 2009-10.
Types of RTC buses one can find on Hyderabad roads:
There are a variety of RTC bus services in Hyderabad. The fare for the bus depends on the comfort level it gives.
•Ordinary: More than 2,000 city ordinary buses are plying in the city. These buses are one of the cheapest ways to travel in the city. Just by paying Rs. 5/- we can travel up to 4 kms in these buses. These buses are painted in white and orange colours and the minimum fare in these buses in Rs. 4/- (up to three bus stops). These buses are always full; unless you board the bus at the starting stop or if it is an odd time (afternoon or night), you will rarely get a seat to sit.
•Metro Express: Around 1,215 Metro Express buses are running in the city. While the ordinary buses stop at every single stop, Metro Expresses will halt at major bus stops only. Minimum fare in these buses is Rs. 6. These are slightly bigger and bit spacious than the ordinary buses and are often painted in blue colour.
•JNNURM Metro Express: These are special buses which are sanctioned to the city under JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) scheme. Though the fares and halts are similar to that of the Metro Express, they are different look wise. These buses are lengthier and wider with semi-low floors. These buses have LED displays which display the bus number; bus origin and the stops in the route are also displayed. You can find them in white and blue colour. CNG buses are also introduced and around 147 CNG Metro Express buses are presently operating in the city.
•Metro Deluxe: Deluxe buses stop at less number of places than Metro Express buses and they are painted in Green colour. The minimum fare in these buses is Rs. 8/- and we can find special seating in these buses. As of now, around 50 Deluxe buses are plying in the city.
•Veera: Though Deluxe and Veera are same, they differ in their appearance. These buses are in blue colour, have LED displays and also have semi-low floors. Ticket fares are again the same. These buses were launched during 2002 National Games to carry the players. Hence, they got the name Veera, which was the mascot of National Games.
•City Sheetal: These buses offer maximum comfort. City Sheetals are completely air conditioned, have special seating arrangement, with push back seats, spacious leg room and with enough space for passengers to board. You can’t find foot board travel in these buses as the doors are completely locked and the driver opens and closes the automatic door at every stop. You can find them in Green colour and the minimum fare in these buses is Rs. 10/-. Presently there are 86 City Sheetals running in the city.
•Mini Buses: These are the latest entrants in to the city, popularly called as Charminar mini buses. They are small in size compared to the other buses, with less seating capacity of 32-40 seats. As of now they are being operated only in Charminar area as they are specially designed to ply in the narrow lanes of old city. Ticket rates are similar to that of ordinary bus fares and you can find them in white and red colours.
Huge bus fleet, economical fare, comfortable travel, and above all RTC buses enable safe and secure journey for every passenger. May be these are more than enough to become a common man’s choice.