Bengaluru: The fleet of luxury Volvo buses was once the pride of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). Now they are a burden to the cash-strapped transport utility. For better utilisation of vehicles, the transport minister, DC Thammanna has asked BMTC officials to create a plan to transfer half of the luxury bus fleet to Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).

Reports stated that the corporation was incurring a loss of almost Rs 90 crore annually on the operation of the AC Volvo buses. Running more than 800 AC buses, the BMTC is now ready to transfer half its fleet to the KSRTC. The buses can then be operated between Bengaluru-Mysuru, Bengaluru-Tumakuru, Bengaluru-Kolar and other routes.

Immense traffic in Bengaluru is the reason for the failure of the luxury bus segment of the BMTC. Due to heavy traffic on the roads, these buses are able to ply only for 150km a day. By transferring half the fleet to the KSRTC for inter-city operation, the buses will be better utilised, reports stated.

While BMTC officials refused to comment on the proposal, one of the senior officials in the BMTC admitted that the corporation was incurring an average loss of Rs 15 per km on routes where AC buses are used. During peak traffic hours, some of the buses operate at a speed of 15 kmph.

Reportedly, another BMTC official stated that there are several reasons for the luxury bus fleet to go into loss. Hike in fuel prices, staff salaries, people shifting to cabs, and metro service are the other prominent reasons. But he also said that not all routes of the BMTC luxury buses are running at a loss.

One AC Volvo bus was introduced by the BMTC in 2006 and then the transport utility gradually increased the number of AC buses. The corporation introduced the bus services under two different names – ‘Vajra' for AC inter-city buses and ‘Vayu Vajra’ for buses that ply in the airport route.