Shimla, Oct 11 (IANS) The Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation (HRTC) is to retire around a third of its fleet of buses as it is unsafe to travel in these battered vehicles in the hill state.
An official said some 600 HRTC buses have travelled beyond the permissible limit of over 600,000 km and hence are considered unsafe for public transport.
These old buses are currently plying on dusty unpaved winding mountain roads in the villages where they are more prone to accidents.
'We will start auctioning of the first batch of 80 buses next month and the entire process will continue for the next few months until all old buses are phased out,' said Rajiv Gupta, general manager HRTC.
The corporation has a fleet of some 1,710 buses that are plied within and outside the state to several cities in northern India including New Delhi.
Transport Minister G.S. Bali had recently said new buses would replace the old buses, which would be far more comfortable and safer to travel in.
In the near absence of rail and air network, HRTC is almost the sole public carrier in the hill state.
Because of this reason, the state government has not raised the bus fares in the last three years even though the price of diesel has shot up many times pushing the company further into crisis.
Added to this are the high wear and tear and the heavy consumption of fuel in the rugged terrain of the hill state.