The state government will soon introduce 4,600 new buses in the state, including 2,000 for the city, under the Union government's Jawaharlal Nehru Rural Development Scheme, transport minister K N Nehru said on Friday. Speaking at a function to mark the foundation stone laying for a rest room for drivers and conductors of the State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) at Koyambedu bus terminus, Nehru said the state government was in discussion with the Centre to grant funds under the scheme to procure 2,000 new buses for Chennai and 1,300 buses each for Madurai and Coimbatore.
The Centre will contribute Rs 300 crore. At present, the state government operates 20,175 buses across the state. Stating that Chennai needed 5,000 buses, Nehru said the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) was operating more than 3,000 buses now. The state government has allotted Rs 15 crore for upgrading MTC depots, he said, adding that steps are being taken to upgrade bus depots and terminuses at places including Vadapalani, Thiruvanmiyur, Semmancheri and Mogappair this year. Referring to the possible reduction in diesel price, Nehru said it would help the transport corporations to become financially self-sufficient. However, the SETC is likely to struggle to make profits even after the proposed diesel price cut, the minister said, and appealed to its employees to work hard to increase the corporation's daily ticket collection.