Mumbai’s MSRTC buses emerge as a ‘new walking stick’ for the elderly and breathe new life into over 75,000 people
An elderly person boarding an ST bus at the Kalyan bus depot on Thursday. | FPJ/Kamal Mishra
The ST bus has established itself as the new “walking stick” for seniors over 75 and has breathed new life into around 75,000 daily seniors, who can travel freely on all its buses. The Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), also known as ST, has recently launched a free transport scheme for people over 75. The program has proven to be a great support for single seniors who seem to use the opportunity to travel and meet their loved ones more often. Previously, seniors had to pay 50% of the fare to travel on regular buses and 45% to travel on Shivshahi buses. On Shivneri buses they have to pay full fare.
The MSRTC operates approximately 15,000 buses daily across the state, including the Shivshahi and Shivneri air-conditioned bus services. After the introduction of this system, the number of seniors over 75 traveling on these buses increased considerably. This program was launched on August 26 and in the first 10 days i.e. between August 26 and September 4, 9,50,147 people over the age of 75 benefited from the facility.
Murbad resident Hitendra Shankar, 82, who traveled frequently from Murbad to Kalyan, said, “This facility has changed my life. resolved and I can meet my daughter, who frequently lives in Kalyan. Hitendra Shankar is the first and his two sons also live with him in Murbad and are engaged in agriculture-related works.
Likewise, Kondeji Maruti Shinde (76), a resident of Junnar, is satisfied with the service. “I used to think twice about going to Kalayn to meet my son and grandchildren, but now when I’m bored I come to meet them,” Kondeji Maruti Shinde said, adding that now the joy of my life has increased.
Residents of Kolhapur who came to meet their relatives in Ambernath said, “Now the elderly feel free to travel. Previously, most elderly people who depended on the health of their children could not travel frequently. According to Jagnath Chimaji Shelar, since most elderly people do not have a stable source of income, paying the tariff was a major problem for them.
Contacted by an ST bus driver, he said that previously very few elderly people could use luxury bus services such as Shivneri, and most of them depended on regular buses due to the high fare, but let them start now to also enjoy the ride in air-conditioned Shivneri buses. “This program is receiving an overwhelming response,” said MSRTC’s development spokesperson. Under this scheme, zero-value tickets are generated by the corporation. The cost of the ticket will be reimbursed by the state government.
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