Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services
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About Ahmedabad

Amdavad is well known among ancient cities of India. Ahmed Shah, ruler of Gujarat in those days established this city in 1411, hence it was named as Ahmedabad, and with the passage of time it became famous as Amdavad. There is a saying about the birth of this city:

“Jab kutte par Sassa aayaa, Tab Badshah ne shahar basaayaa”.

(When the rabbit attacked the dog, the Sultan populated the city).

This saying indicates something rather unique, as compared to the general events. The sultan must have visualized something special on the land of this place, therefore he selected it for establishing a city. Many peculiarities in civilization, sculpture, architecture, trade & commerce and industrial development are class apart even today. Economy and practical dexterity have grown with the life of a man from Amdavad. There is an unique personality in the resident of Amdavad, staying in remote foreign countries or in various other states of India; and they can be marked different. The father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi had started the movement of freedom, keeping in view Independence of India, and its functional centre was Amdavad. Ashrams st Kochrab and at Sabarmati were the main centre of the Non-co-operation movement Strongly attached to truth and non-violence, Respected BAPU had published two periodicals – NAVJIVAN (Gujarati) and YOUNG-INDIA (English) and that had spread the values throughout India.

Gujarat Vidyapith has been founded here in order to establish the education system according to Indian culture and to abandon the British education, that nurtured the mentality of slaves. Great personalities such as Vinoba Bhave and Kaka Kalelkar had stayed at Sabarmati Ashram and Vidhapith here in Amdavad, for in many years. Jahangir, the moghul ruler at Delhi, had situated at Shahibaug near the bank of Sabarmati river, reigned as the commander of Gujarat for some time. The Sardar-Memorial, old secretariat building has been constructed in those days.

Sir Thomas Row, a Dutch representative, who wanted the trade licence from moghul emperor (just like the British did), also resided here at PHUVARA in a big mansion named VALANDA – HAVELI (Residence of the Dutch) but that building is ruined at present. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron-man of India, was practising his career as lawyer and latter he served in the municipality, too. Amdavad was famous for textile, brocade and indigo industries in old days. The craftsmanslip was world famous, and brocade was highly demanded in foreign countries. Rai Bahadur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal had started the first Textile-mill at Amdavad in 1859, thereafter the textile industry developed to such an extent that Amdavad was known as Manchester of India. Small industries producing equipments and spare parts used in textiles also flourished here, andthe industrial development speeded up, as a result the textile research institute (ATIRA) was founded at Amdavad.

History

 Amdavad is well known among ancient cities of India. Ahmed Shah, ruler of Gujarat in those days established this city in 1411, hence it was named as Ahmedabad, and with the passage of time it became famous as Amdavad. There is a saying about the birth of this city: 

“Jab kutte par Sassa aayaa, Tab Badshah ne shahar basaayaa”.

(When the rabbit attacked the dog, the Sultan populated the city).

This saying indicates something rather unique, as compared to the general events. The sultan must have visualized something special on the land of this place, therefore he selected it for establishing a city. Many peculiarities in civilization, sculpture, architecture, trade & commerce and industrial development are class apart even today. Economy and practical dexterity have grown with the life of a man from Amdavad. There is an unique personality in the resident of Amdavad, staying in remote foreign countries or in various other states of India; and they can be marked different. The father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi had started the movement of freedom, keeping in view Independence of India, and its functional centre was Amdavad. Ashrams st Kochrab and at Sabarmati were the main centre of the Non-co-operation movement Strongly attached to truth and non-violence, Respected BAPU had published two periodicals – NAVJIVAN (Gujarati) and YOUNG-INDIA (English) and that had spread the values throughout India. Gujarat Vidyapith has been founded here in order to establish the education system according to Indian culture and to abandon the British education, that nurtured the mentality of slaves. Great personalities such as Vinoba Bhave and Kaka Kalelkar had stayed at Sabarmati Ashram and Vidhapith here in Amdavad, for in many years. Jahangir, the moghul ruler at Delhi, had situated at Shahibaug near the bank of Sabarmati river, reigned as the commander of Gujarat for some time. The Sardar-Memorial, old secretariat building has been constructed in those days. Sir Thomas Row, a Dutch representative, who wanted the trade licence from moghul emperor (just like the British did), also resided here at PHUVARA in a big mansion named VALANDA – HAVELI (Residence of the Dutch) but that building is ruined at present. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Iron-man of India, was practising his career as lawyer and latter he served in the municipality, too. Amdavad was famous for textile, brocade and indigo industries in old days. The craftsmanslip was world famous, and brocade was highly demanded in foreign countries. Rai Bahadur Ranchhodlal Chhotalal had started the first Textile-mill at Amdavad in 1859, thereafter the textile industry developed to such an extent that Amdavad was known as Manchester of India. Small industries producing equipments and spare parts used in textiles also flourished here, and the industrial development speeded up, as a result the textile research institute (ATIRA) was founded at Amdavad.

Amdavad was at the leading place in Non-co-operation movement, and Dandi-Kuch (March of Dandi) began under the leadership of mahatma Gandhi in order to abolish tax on salt from here, where many great leaders had participated.

Amdavad is still at the top during modern era. ISRO, an important institute for space research, has been founded here at Amdavad, and another two organizations, remarkable in the field of education- NID (National Institute of Design), and IIM (Indian Institute of Management) also are at Amdavad. These three institutes have international fame, in addition to being famous in India. Thus, Amdavad is an important city at present time also. Several foreign tourists coming to India do visit Sabarmati Harijan Ashram resided by Mahatma Gandhi.

There is continuous hike in population vis-à-vis the industrial development. The walled area of the city experience congestion of population and with that the jurisdiction of municipality also expanded. The housing societies and colonies had been started in the surrounding areas in order to reduce the density somewhere in 1940. Leading citizens, lawyers, labour leaders, industrialists and traders were elected as municipal members in those days. Shri Manibhai Chaturbhai Shah was the municipal President. Dr. A.N.Tankaria was the Vice-President and Shri Navinchandra Desai was standing committee Chairman. Moreover Shri Nandlal Bodiwala, Shri Arjunlal Bhogilal Lala, Shri Dolatram Umedram Shah and Shri Dadubhai Amin were among municipality members. They were concerned about the welfare of the citizens and the ideals of the social workers in that generation were very high with warm feelings for the society. They were vigilant for the well-being of the city. The very first resolution was passed by the municipality on 10th June 1940 in the General Board meeting (to begin transport services vide Resolution No. 476 dated 10-6-40).  This task was put on the board by the standing committee (vide committee Resolution No. 878 dated 4-6-1940)

According to the said resolution, it was decided to form a special committee vide Section No.38 of municipal Burro Act. The jurisdiction of the committee was to get the sanction of state government to acquire loan amount necessary for the bus project, and to map out various bus-routes in different areas of the city. Main purpose of the transport service was to avoid the population density in city area and thereby to provide affordable means of transportation facility for the citizens staying far from the main city area. The profit motive was not there at all at any stage. The decision was to start transport facility first in the municipal boundary. For that purpose they had to contact Provincial Motor-transport Controller and Regional Transport Authority in Gujarat in order to obtain necessary licence valid upto 31-3-1941. The committee was comprised of 7 members including Shri Arjunlala, Shri Nandlal Bodiwala, Shri Navinchandra Desai, and Shri Dadubhai Amin.

The committee formed in June 1940 presented its plan to the General Board on 21st August, 1940 vide Resolution No.1161 dtd.21-8-40. The Board resolved in addition that the plan should be sanctioned by R.T.A. and it should permit to manage the bus-routes mentioned in the resolution for five years. If the R.T.A. proposes to increase number of Bus-routes, or if the municipality thinks so by its experience, more routes will be added. Other areas such as Naroda , Vasana, Sabarmati Hansol etc. also will be provided with the service if the need arises, and due approvals will be obtained from Commissioner of Northern region as per municipal Burro Act. If the municipality does not get such approval, and some other organisation obtains the same, RTA must clarify that such organisation will not allow the passengers within municipal limit to use the facility of transport.

The President of the committee was authorised to make any alterations in the plan if required. Municipal Chief officer was empowered to apply for the stage carriage permit and to pay the fees, expenses etc. for that purpose. The President was also empowered to make necessary arrangements for the public loan amount to Rs.14,00,000 with the rate of interest at 4%.

In Oct.1940, as per General Board Resolution No.1640 dtd.24-10-1940, the committee was authorised  to purchase buses from the licenced manufacturers at the market-price suggested by arbitrator, and municipal corporators were duly given power to take necessary steps in this aspect.

No conerete steps seem to have been taken till 1946, after the above sanctions in the subject of starting municipal transport service. Probably some difficulties might have been raised from the licenced manufacturers or the delay in Government decisions against the execution of this plan.

Thereafter this topic was discussed many times, and in November 1949, the old plan prepared by the Bus-Committee was passed (with Resolution No.800 dtd.16-11-46). It was suggested that the plan should be proposed properly to the Transport Minister of Mumbai State through the President who can forward it and discuss it systematically. The Board also approved to collect a loan amt. Rs. 25 lacs as a cost of transport project. The proposal was put forth by the first president Dr. A.N.Tankaria who was also appointed later as a chairman of bus-committee, the proposal was supported by Shri Ram Prasad Contractor. Moreover the decision was taken to obtain monopoly in the subject of plying the buses within the municipal areas as well as in Sabarmati, Vasana, Naroda, Odhav and Sadar Bazaar. It was also decided to get approval from Government of Mumbai to float a long term loan for 30 years at 3% interest rate in Feb/March 1947 for this project. There was a firm decision this time to start the transport service, and the committee got a wider authority, so that they can make their best effort enthusiastically to complete it. They constantly contacted government officers, ministers and influential people. Public opinion was developed in favour of starting the public-bus, therefore the government was             impelled to  take a quick decision. Bus-fare was kept as 1 (one) Anna minimum and 3 Annas maximum and the fact was informed to R.T.A. office through the chief officer.

During this time resolution No-275 dtd. 23-5-46 was passed to take expert services of Shri G.L. Sheth (ICS) in the municipality. He has played a great role to initiate bus-services. He also helped in taking quick administrative decisions, and guiding in routine jobs to the committee. His enthusiasm and talent were very much helpful to start the services.

Resolution No.358 dtd. 4-6-46 was passed in response of the proposal made by Shri Arjun Lal, and it was bifurcated in two parts :

(1)  People should be convinced to build residential units on the open plots situated outside the city, to reduce the population density. However this was difficult in the absence of proper transport facility, therefore the Board resolved that monopoly right should be vested with the municipality to ply petrol or diesel buses and electric trolley service. The Board also requested Mumbai Government to make changes in the present laws if the need arises.

(2)  The Board also resolved to rethink the 1940 plan or to fabricate all new plan, keeping in view the growing population, and form a new committee, that can invite the experts for their advice, and necessary expenses should be made for the project.

Committee members:

(1). Dr. A. N. Tankaria – Chairman

(2). Shri Chinubhai Chamanlal

(3). Shri Chaitanya Prasad M. Diwanji

(4). Shri Ramprasad Chandulal Contractor

(5). Shri Krishnalal T. Desai

(6). Shri Arjunlal Bhogilal Lala

(7). Shri A. S. Sheikh

(8). Sir Mehboobmiya Imanbaksh Kadri

(9). Shri Keshavji Ranchhodji Vaghela

 

          There was appropriate guidance, great help and co-operation from Mr. W. H. Whitfield, the provincial Motor Transport controller together with his officers and staff to complete the project started by Amdavad municipality. Therefore a resolution (No.123 dtd. 19-4-47, and No. 188 dtd. 1/5/47) was passed to appreciate his valuable services.

R.T.A issued the permit to manage 29 routes for the bus-service to Municipality of Amdavad in Jan. 1947, therefore the preparation for service was to be started as fast as possible. An executive committee (for buses) was appointed Vide General Board Resolution No. 1071 dtd. 29-1-47, to enhance this task. The committee got authority from the municipality vide section-38 (1) of Municipal Burroes to perform the responsibilities of routine administration. A mandate was issued by the chief officer to appoint employees having maximum salary upto Rs. 250. The committee had the tenure of one year, it was comprise of 9 members:

 

  1. Dr. A. N. Tankaria – Chairman
  2. Sheth Shantilal Mangaldas
  3. Shri S. A. Kher
  4. Shri Arjun Bhogilal Lala
  5. Shri Somnath Prabhashankar Dave
  6. Shri Vrajlal Keshavlal Mehta
  7. Shri Keshavji Ranchhodji Vaghela
  8. Janab Mehboob I. Kadri
  9. Janab M. H. Narsi

Dr. Tankaria, the chairman had also served as the member in Traffic Advisory Committee on behalf of the municipality.

Among the above members, Shri Somnath Dave and Shri Keshavji Vaghela were chief representatives of Labour Guild (Majoor Mahajan). The Labour Guild has extended its co-operation right from the inception of transport service. The staff of Morris Co. was accommodated into AMTS due to the efforts of Shri Khandubhai Desai, Shri. Vasavda and Shri Somnath Dave, who were members of Labour Guild.

1-4-47 was the date, fixed to start transport service. Many preparations including ordering and delivery of the buses, appointment of staff and erecting route-poles at various bus-stops, were to be done fast.

          To begin with, Shri N. G. Pandit, officer at RTO, was appointed as Traffic Manager for 3 yrears with the Salary scale Rs. 450 – 900, vide bus-committee Resolution No.2 dtd. 30-1-47. Shri Pandit agreed to the proposal and the process became fast and easy due to his experience.

The following employees also were approved for appointment:

1. General Manager

2. Traffic Manager

3. Works Manager

4. Secretary

5. Advertising Assistant

6. Accountant

7. Head Cashier

8. Chief Inspector

9. Traffic Inspector

10. 400 vacancies for Drivers

11. 400 vacancies for conductors

12. Controller

13. Stores superintendent

14. Fuel Superintendent

15. Store Keeper

16. Maintenance Manager

 

THE BEGINNING

There existed three transport services viz. ABC Co. (Amdavad Bus Corporation), Morris Transport and Munshi Bus service, before the municipal bus service. There was shortage of petrol till 1946 due to Second World War and the petrol supply was in limited quantity even in 1947 when the municipal bus service started. Coal-gas was used as fuel earlier in the buses, many buses were plying on gas. There were approximately 50,000 commuters who travelled in such buses, Morris company operated some 32 bus routes in the city. The buses ran on Gandhi Road, and Relief Road from Bhadra in city area. There were clock-wise and anticlock-wise routes running from shahpur to shahpur. More over there were other routes for Shahibaug, Dudheshwar, Vadaj, Sabarmati and Calico Mills outside city area. There were buses for Asarva, Khokhara- Mehmdabad, Gomtipur, Amraiwadi and Maninagar in the eastern area, while Paldi, Vasna, Ambawadi and Commerce College routes were covered on the western bank of Sabarmati river. Buses for Sabarmati area ran from Vadaj.

Minimum bus fare was one Anna (6paise), and Maximum bus fare was three Annas (20 paise). They were in force from 1-1-47.

First communal riots took place in 1941, and the atmosphere was tense in 1946 also. The buses ran by private companies closed down during such emergency period, and hence the citizens felt insecurity together with difficulty. The private companies (Austin and Studbaker) buses were in wretched condition having wooden seats without sponge, a curse for the commuters, because profit motive was at the centre for such commercial organizations. Hence the citizen demanded heavily for the public transport service. Amdavad municipality decided to start bus service in public sector, keeping in view the ideal to end the troubles of people and to give them good service at reasonable rates.

There were 60 municipal buses running on the road on 1-4-47. There was lot of excitement for the new buses, and the people thronged on the bus routes to see the municipal buses, because the public sector city bus service was the first of its kind in Amdavad in the whole country, and the citizens gave very warm welcome to it. The people of the city took pride for the bus service started by the municipality. The seats were spongy and comfortable in the new buses. All the routes started from Lal Darwaja (Bhadra) and railway station. The route numbers were almost similar, to the ones Morris Company, with minor changes, so that the passengers should not face any problems that time.

Close-wise and anticlock-wise circular routes were started from Lal Darwaja. When the bus service began in 1947, buses were not delivered in requisite number, hence certain buses were hired for a month to cater the urgent need from Gujarat Motors Ltd. on daily rent of Rs.50. Due to an inconvient body for the city-service, they were stopped as soon as the organization got its own buses.

The third party insurance risk was not covered from beginning under the Motor Vehicle Act Section 94 (2), therefore the amount equivalent to its premium was decided to be deposited, and Mumbai state government was requested for exemption on the said amount. The request was granted. It was granted that all the municipal transport service staff would get monthly Rs. 5 as grain rebate.

As the delivery was received from the bus dealers more buses came on the roads. Order was given to general Motors to buy 225 buses in total, out of that 143 buses were received upto September 1947. The petrol supply was inadequate those days, due to government regulations, and therefore the buses on road were much less than they were required. However there was considerable increase in the number of passengers as compared to private bus-management. In 1947-48, the daily number of passenger were one lac nine thousand.

This department was considered as a section of Municipality before the separation of transport fund on 1-8-1950. Separate accounts of AMTS service were maintained taking into consideration the payments released on 1-4-1950 onwards from the municipal office, and accordingly, AMTS estimate Budget-‘B’ for 1951-52 was presented in the General Meeting of Municipal corporation by transport committee through standing committee in Dec. 1950. In Jan. 1951, All India Convention Committee meeting was held in Gujarat Vidyapith, Amdavad. At that time, a bus-stand was erected near Vidyapith in order to facilitate the crowds gathered to attend to their beloved leaders. On 30 Jan 1951, Gandhiji’s death- anniversary, people had participated in great number in the mass-spinning programme at Harijan Ashram, there also proper bus-arrangement was made. Special arrangement was also made for S.S.C exam on demand of National Student Union.

New transport committee was appointed on 19-7-1951 after the conversion of the municipality into a corporation. At the end of the year 1951-52, the organization had 205 buses. The list of vehicles is as follows:

 

Chevrolet (Petrol) Buses   122
Leyland Buses   22
Ford (Perkinson Engine)   3
Chevrolet (Leyland Diesel Engine)   12
Chevrolet (Perkinson Engine)   4
Staff Cars 
  3
Break-Down Van    2
Break-Down Van with crane   1
Cash Van   1

 

With the expanse of city area and progress in industries, AMTS field became wider. Various new housing colonies, schools and factories cropped up across the river towards west in Maninagar, Vadaj, Sabarmati and east of the railway line, and it was necessary to add more bus-routes to cope up with public demand. 65 New buses to be purchased had diesel engine, therefore fuel expense were decreased in 1954-55 budget. Tyre-tube and spare-part expenses were curtailed too in the new fleet of buses. Temporary staff at the workshop was also limited. Carriage capacity of the new buses was comparatively more due to greater number of seats, but estimated bus-fare income was at par with last year, Rs. 59,00,000.

“Politeness week” was celebrated from 21-3-55 to 27-3-55 by the organization. The staff had made this event successful with spirit, and many appreciation letters were received as a symbol of people’s response. This eventful week was inaugurated at Lal Darwaja by the Mayor in the presence of outstanding citizens. Respected Mayor had awarded Rs. 20 as inspirational Prize to sincere drivers and conductors. Therefore the staff got the feeling of zeal and awareness, supported by encouragement for better performance.

Demand for transportation services grew with the development of Amdavad city. Bus routes upto Kathwada, Lambha, Ranip, Hathijan, Vanch, Ramol, Nikol and Amli Road were started during 1960, This facility helped to the villagers and to the students to visit Amdavad city. Thus Municipal Transport service has played an important role in the development of suburbs and nearby villages. All those remote areas, where AMTS buses went first, their development has become faster. The organization had to bear losses in earlier years in following the service oriented attitude but it has resulted in speedy development of the city.

The organization had adopted service-oriented approach, and the matter such as : night and morning service for textile workers, special routes from Government Colonies to secretariate and new civil hospital, special concession rates for children and students, free pass scheme for the blind, and concessional pass for professional and medical post-graduate students were benefactory for the society.

This transport service got popularity among citizens as well as tourists visiting this city during last 7 years, because arrangement of two modern coaches facilitated city tours, specially engaged tours, religious places tours, picnic tours for students at discounted rates and also bus-facility at public functions. Moreover “The Merry-go-round service” was introduced around Kankaria lake and it was a matter of attraction for the children. This way the organization created a unique image of its own.

The financial aspect was almost balanced. There was enough provision in the budget for loan amount to purchase new buses, repayment of the installments of loan borrowed from corporation, installments for loan and sinking fund, depreciation fund, insurance fund, and also installments for gratuity funds. Though the economic progress of the organization was satisfactory, no major increase was made in the rates of bus fare and each section was managed skillfully with frugality. The existing bus fare rates were good enough to meet the price-rise of diesel and other equipments.

AMTS is managed by Transport Manager under transport committee and Municipal Corporation from the very inception, the organization has adopted service oriented attitude, so one should not consider it as a firm or a company, but as a service organization. AMTS is a voluntary service managed by Municipal Corporation under B.P.M.C. Act.

 

 
 
 
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