Air-conditioned (AC) city buses, which were launched prior to the polls by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, are yet to roll out even though Bhubaneswar is reeling from intense heatwave conditions.
The authorities managing the city bus service also confirmed that AC buses would start plying from May 2.
Bhubaneswar-Puri Transport Services Limited (BPTSL), which manages the city bus service, received the 12 AC buses last November. But they were parked inside a depot near Baramunda bus terminus till March 3 when the service was inaugurated.
Yesterday, BPTSL officials convened a meeting where it was decided that the buses would ply from May 2.
The 40-seater buses are equipped with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to keep an eye on goons and ensure safety of women. Besides, the buses are equipped with the latest electronic features to facilitate safe driving.
“Getting trained and smart drivers for the buses was a problem. As the buses were fitted with CCTV and the driving console includes sophisticated switching system, many drivers were reluctant to go for the training. Finally we got six people and they were trained,” BPTSL CEO Sanjib Kumar Mishra said.
With Met officials in Bhubaneswar predicting that the highest day temperature may reach 43°C on May 1 and the hot spell likely to continue till May 3, the commuters urgently want the cool vehicles to be pressed into service.
Though AC buses remain unused, the state government has compounded the problem of commuters on April 25 when it ordered that non-AC buses would not ply between 11am and 3pm.