DIBRUGARH, Sept 25 – Reintroduction of city bus service here has brought a big sigh of relief to commuters and local denizens, particularly the senior citizens, women and patients, who otherwise were compelled to move in congested three-wheelers. Now commuters can travel with comfort and cheaper fares in the newly introduced city buses from Assam Medical College and Hospital to Dibrugarh University.
It needs to be recalled that city bus service was under operation until some two decades ago but the same was withdrawn for reasons best known to the transport department. It is said that the Dibrugarh is the first city in the Northeast to have introduced city bus service sometime in 1956 in the Marwaripatty-Barbari route with a fleet of five buses. In the later years, the route for city bus service was reportedly extended and multiplied to start from Dibrugarh University to the Assam Medical College & Hospital, one via Rehabari (RKB Path) and other via Marwaripatty spanning a distance of around fourteen kilometres.
No sooner than the idea of replacement of the old fleet of city buses with canter buses in Dibrugarh was floated in the mid-nineties, then came Vikram and Garuda three-wheelers to throng the city roads, only to bid adieu to the golden age of city buses. Lately, it is learned that some unscrupulous persons from even government machinery have challenged reintroduction of city buses in the city. Earlier, one district transport officer decided to introduce a fleet of twenty city buses, but a section of the Vikram/Garuda owners/drivers went all out against it and surprisingly managed to nullify the proposed move.
The vicious cycle of three-wheelers plying without valid licence for the respective routes backed by unscrupulous government officers including some in the police department are looting the public in Dibrugarh by fixing the fare at their will and also by making four hapless people sit together on a seat for three. This vicious cycle is also threatening the existence of the genuine three-wheeler owners/drivers and deserves to be dealt with the severest of the existing law.
It is also pertinent to mention that Vikram, Champion, Minidor, etc., three-wheelers are generally seen stranded with or without any passenger, thereby occupying major chunks of road mostly at Rehabari (Thana Chariali) causing much inconvenience to the public. This vindicates the fact that the number of existing three-wheelers in the city has already crossed the saturation point and it is very much surprising that, even under such a situation, the local DTO office here has still been issuing fresh permits to the three-wheelers.
Now that the public demand for reintroduction of city buses has started to bear fruit as two ASTC buses have started plying the city roads from Dibrugarh University to the Assam Medical College, citizens here are hopeful that a full-fledged city bus service will again become operational in Dibrugarh incorporating more routes, including Dibrugarh airport and Dibrugarh railway station at Banipur.