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Kolkata may soon get cafeteria trams

Last updated on: April 26, 2012 12:19 IST

Kolkata may soon get cafeteria trams

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Call it an image makeover for a moving slice of history, or a blueprint for revival, Calcutta Tramways Corporation, the operator of Asia's oldest functional tram services, is set to soon introduce 'cafeteria trams' in Kolkata.

The plan, being put together by the transport and tourism departments, could just be a shot in the arm for the cash-strapped CTC.

"We are planning to convert four trams into moving hotels as a first step.

"We have decided to set up an expert committee to chart a road map.

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Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/rediff.com

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"It will submit its report within a month or so.

"These cafeterias would be run by private companies or state-run ones like Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation," said transport minister Madan Mitra.

According to sources, to run these cafeteria trams, CTC is working on a proposal to run ring services of trams in Central Kolkata, around the Victoria Memorial and Race Course areas.

"In order to attract tourists, our plan is to lay tracks connecting the present line parallel to Red Road. However, a court directive banning movement of heavy vehicles in a radius of three km of Victoria Memorial could turn out to be an issue," said a top transport ministry official.

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Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/rediff.com

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Mitra said the charges for these cafeteria trams and who will run these would be decided by the expert committee.

"It will have all the facilities can find in a modern-day cafeteria," he said.

Kolkata remains the only city in the country that has a surviving tram transport system, while it has become history in others like Mumbai, Delhi, Patna, Kanpur, Chennai and Nashik.

Meanwhile, CTC wants to generate revenues through alternative means like running more buses on profitable routes, on-board ticket checking system, etc.

There also are plans to introduce AC buses and turn underutilised tram depots at the city's prime locations into parking lots.

According to reports, though CTC earns around Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) a year from its tram and bus services, it spends many times the amount on salaries of more than 6,500 employees.

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Photographs: Illustration by Uttam Ghosh/rediff.com
Tags: CTC , Mitra , Mumbai , Kolkata

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The state government has been providing an annual subsidy of Rs 600 crore (Rs 6 billion) to the five state-run transport corporations -- Calcutta State Transport Corporation, North Bengal State Transport Corporation, South Bengal State Transport Corporation and West Bengal Surface Transport Corporations. About Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) of this goes to CTC.

Also, CTC has come out with a proposal to increase tram fares by up to Rs 1.50 to revive the ailing transport system.

The proposal is under 'active consideration' of the government.

There are about 18,000 employees in the five transport corporations.

Currently, CTC has more than 250 trams and 200 buses under its fleet, but, of these, only 120 trams are operational, covering 16 routes across the city.




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