State Road Transport Corporation bus services between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh resumed from Monday night, after a gap of more than seven months, as the two Telugu states signed an agreement in this regard. The two neighbours finally resolved their differences on the operation of government bus services in each other's territory.
Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) Managing Director Sunil Sharma and Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) MD Krishna Babu signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Hyderabad in the presence of Telangana's Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar. Under the MoU, TSRTC buses will operate on 1,61,258-km routes in Andhra Pradesh while APSRTC buses will cover 1,60,999 km in Telangana.
Before the lockdown, APSRTC operated its buses on 2.5 lakh route km in Telangana while TSRTC used to run buses on 1.5 lakh route km in Andhra Pradesh. Ajay Kumar told reporters that though there was some delay, the two have reached an agreement. He said that during the lockdown the two states realised that they have no formal agreement on bus operations.
The interstate bus services have been suspended since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown was imposed to check the spread of COVID-19. Though the two corporations resumed bus services within their respective states following relaxation of lockdown norms in May, the interstate services could not be restored due to the differences. Telangana insisted parity in bus operations but several rounds of talks between the officials of two state-owned transport bodies failed to resolve the differences.
With the signing of MoU, the number of APSRTC's bus services in Telangana will come down to 638 per day from 1,009 before lockdown. TSRTC, which earlier used to operate 750 services per day, will now run 820 services.
Ever since Telangana came into existence following bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the interstate passenger bus services were operated on the basis of ad hoc provisions under Clause 72(1) of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.
Telangana felt that the arrangement was heavily loaded in favour of APSRTC due to various factors, including travel by more passengers from Andhra to Telangana, especially Hyderabad.
APSRTC operates majority of its bus services to Hyderabad from Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Anantapur, Kurnool and other destinations.