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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: With life returning to normalcy amid the pandemic, all eyes are now on whether the bus services in and around the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack would return to a normal in the near future. Managing Director of the Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) Arun Bothra is however hopeful that services will normalise very soon.

On November 6, 2018, Mo Bus services were rolled out as a part of state government-owned Capital Region Urban Transport’s ‘City Bus Modernisation’ programme. Over these two years, Mo Bus has gained massive popularity in the capital city, Khordha, Cuttack and Puri districts as from 17000 ridership in the initial days, it jumped to over 1 lakh daily ridership in January 2020.

The buses stopped plying after a nation-wide lockdown was imposed in March. However, commuters are again showing their interest in public transport post resumption of services when most of the curbs were lifted. Currently, around 109 buses are operational in 17 different routes in Khordha, Cuttack, Konark, Pipili and Puri under the Mo Bus service.

On the occasion of 2nd anniversary of Mo Bus yesterday, Bothra expressed his gratitude to the commuters for their constant support. "In these two years, you all have showered love and supported us throughout. Mo Bus received widespread appreciation from across States in such a short span of time and has emerged as a brand. With a fleet of only 200 buses, such recognition was possible because of the people's love and support," he said.

Bothra also lay importance on the introduction of electric buses which will help reduce pollution levels. "In the next 3-4 months, noise-free and modern electric buses (e-buses) will ply in the twin city. The process for the same has begun and we have planned to induct 25 such buses to the existing fleet of Mo Bus to give a push to clean mobility in the public transport system," the CRUT MD stated.

Last year, Mo Bus was adjudged as the Best City Bus Service Project by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs. The Award was conferred on CRUT by the Ministry on the occasion of 12th Urban Mobility India (UMI) Conference-cum-Expo 2019 at Lucknow, UP.

Mo Buses feature various technology-driven systems like free Wi-Fi, CCTV surveillance, GPS, public information display system and on-board announcement facility. Passengers can also avail information regarding locations of the bus and minimise their waiting time through the ‘Mo Bus’ mobile app on smartphones.

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