Short routes, swift rides make Uttar Pradesh’s new village bus service a hit among public

Short routes, swift rides make Uttar Pradesh’s new village bus service a hit among public

Short routes, swift rides make Uttar Pradesh’s new village bus service a hit among public

The government focus is on bus routes not exceeding 100 km, to connect all villages through the state transport corporation 

Mathura, Uttar Pradesh: Bus services connecting every village in Uttar Pradesh have been in the works in the last few months. Uttar Pradesh has 1,06,747 villages as per the 2011 Census. According to a recent newsreport, 4,593 of the total 59,163 village panchayats lack government bus services. 

Making things easier for the public, the Yogi Adityanath government had earlier ensured connection of every district to the state capital through government buses. Moreover, special buses connecting the state’s main cities to New Delhi have also been launched. The next plan is to secure connection to all villages in the state.

A survey was announced to assess the villages with no bus services within its two km radius. It  determined whether these villages have motorable roads. An assessment of the passenger demand was also planned. Notably, the idea here was not to introduce bus routes exceeding 100 km, but to keep it short and convenient.

"Among the northern states, lately Uttar Pradesh has done a little better. Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, does not have a state public transport facility. The southern states have always given priority to rural transport. Overall, state transport undertakings have functioned well in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. I think Kerala is a very good example within India, traditionally having very strong and high bus connectivity.  Because of that the whole urbanisation pattern is very different there," Dr Geetam Tiwari, Professor, Transportation Research and Injury Prevention Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, told 101Reporters.

"Uttar Pradesh is a very dense state and there are a lot of small towns and villages in very close proximity... Once you start providing bus routes to villages, basically it increases all kinds of opportunities for people in those villages, including better access to education, work and health facilities. People do not have to move to big cities to avail of all opportunities," she said.

Bus service connecting the villages through the state transport corporation (Photo - Yogesh Bharadwaj, 101Reporters)

Exploring such a bus service can help gauge the benefits that passengers have received. Last October, the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSTRC) launched a bus service to Barsana from Mathura, both favourite destinations of devotees of Lord Krishna.

Revered as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, Mathura is flocked by lakhs of devotees every day. Aimed at ensuring easy access to Barsana, the birthplace of Lord Krishna’s beloved Shri Radha located around 40 km away, the UPSRTC launched a bus service connecting these two holy places.

Goddess Shri Radha is the presiding deity of Shri Radha Rani Temple built on a hill in Barsana. For many years, there had been no arrangements for government bus service on this route. Private vehicles used to operate here by collecting arbitrary fares. The new service has not only saved the tourists from fleecing, but also helped people of both Chhata and Barsana to travel comfortably. Earlier, villagers had to wait for hours to go for agricultural work in Chhata, located 26 km from Barsana.

“We have been connected to the National Highway 19 through this bus service. Reaching the city or Chhata tehsil has become easier. Since I have to travel out of the village to practice law, this new service has saved a lot of my time,” said Advocate Sanjay Goswami from Barsana. 

According to nursing student Anvi Goswami, she had to get to the national highway by private vehicles and then catch a bus to the nursing college. Now, the bus comes to the village itself, so there is no need to change vehicles. “I reach the nursing college on time and return home on time,” she said.

For Parshuram Shrotiya, a farmer from Barsana, ease in collecting fertilisers and seeds has made a difference. “One just needs to board the bus in the village itself. Seated comfortably, one can reach the tehsil to get farm inputs. For administrative work related to farmlands, the same applies,” he said.

Bhagat Singh, a resident of Chhata village, said travellers coming from Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan side to visit Shri Radha Rani Temple usually get down on the highway and wait for vehicles to travel to Barsana. With the new bus service, the wait time has come down significantly.

Madan Sharma, Area Regional Manager, UPSRTC, Mathura, told 101Reporters that the 52-seater bus service between Mathura and Barsana has marked an end to the transport woes. ”The bus runs from 7 am to 6 pm.” 

Bus driver Omveer attested that the bus runs on its full seating capacity all day long. “Many years ago, a bus used to operate to this rural area under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission [JNNURM], but it later stopped service,” he informed.

The old service operated during the Congress regime at the Centre. Once the scheme expired and the buses fell into disuse, they were put up for auction. Sharma said people had approached Mathura MP Hema Malini seeking a new bus service on this route. Subsequently, she met the then district magistrate, Pulkit Khare, and demanded that the service be launched. Khare informed Mathura MLA Chaudhary Laxmi Narayan Singh, the present Minister of Dairy Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries, which resulted in the new service.  

Ranjit Randhawa from Punjab’s Ludhiana comes to Mathura every month to visit Banke Bihari Temple in Vrindavan and Shri Radha Rani Temple. “I live in Delhi and I come to Mathura by bus. On NH 19, I get a bus bound for Barsana. Unlike earlier days, we save time, resources and money through this facility.” 

Santosh Aggarwal, an accountant in the transport department, said the department was neither incurring any loss nor making profit from the service. "Some days we earn more and some days we earn less. The only thing is that transportation has become smooth and timely for the public."

With inputs from 101Reporters desk

Edited by Rekha Pulinnoli

Cover Photo - Villagers getting off the bus (Representative image/Canva)


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