Assam State Transport Corporation

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Brief History Of Public Transport And ASTC. The history of the public transport in India started with the independence of the nation. At the time of independence the nation was mainly a rural nation with remote far-flung villages and mostly poor citizens without any modern transportation facilities. At that time it was not possible for the private sector to provide transportation to the people. So the planners came out to provide rail and road transportation through the public sector as transportation is considered as the gateway of development.

The government of all states started their bus transport ystem to connect the villages with their political and commercial hubs. Assam Government for the same purpose started with only four buses to run between Guwahati and Nagaon in 1948. To enable the services to run more efficiently, Government of India introduced an act called State Transport Corporation Act, by which these organizations are allowed to run with autonomous power. Following the footsteps of other states, the Assam State transport department was converted to Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) on 30th March 1970.

The Corporation started with a satisfactory service to the people winning public goodwill till today. But due to inherent public sector weakness and other constraints the corporation slowly fell down economically and failed to give a satisfactory service. Since, then ASTC has crossed a long period of time but it had to fend with certain constrains like overstaffing, uneconomic fare structure, mushroom growth of private buses, providing services on social obligation at the cost of economic losses etc. These factors had led to gradual deterioration of the Corporation and reached such a stage that its closures were seemed inevitable.

However, during the year 2001 the State- Government had taken some dynamic steps for revival and re-organization of the Corporation, and these steps were proved to be savior of ASTC and to get the position of one of the beneficial corporation of Assam Government. A Board consisting of twelve members heads ASTC. It is divided into nine divisions, each headed by a Divisional Superintendent. The primary accounts are maintained at divisional level and are rendered to Headquarters at Guwahati for consolidation.

Business Model Pre & Post Revival Scheme Pre Revival scheme, ASTC was a traditional corporation, engaged in business of ublic transportation. Since its inception in year 1948 its business was limited up to the transportation of the public. There main aim was to fulfill the social obligation, irrespective of any economic loss. There earning were mainly from the revenue earned from passengers, cargo transportation and advertisement fees, but after the introduction of “Revival scheme” ASTC changed its policy in terms of revenue generation.

From its traditional business of public transportation, it became a total transport service provider, where commutation of public from one place to another was not only the main aim. They became a service provider, which facilitates comfort, low fare, and easy transportation to public. ASTC started using its whole resources at its fullest for the revenue generation. They leased there land to unemployed for opening of shops in there area, which earned them rent/fees, commercialized petrol pumps, advertisement on buses and under this they invited private players to run their buses under the banner of ASTC.

This was somewhat like Airport Authority of India model, where private players were charged for using the name of ASTC, parking and other facilities provided by ASTC. Private players also accepted this invitation, as this will give them the access to large network of routes and benefits given by the ASTC. In this way they expanded their revenue generation horizon. This approach is totally a professional approach, what more it needs is that it should be managed in a professional manner, particularly in decision-making, implementation and execution.

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