Buses of Kolkata
As we know that bus service in Kolkata is widespread. Both government and private unions run buses. Some private buses like 3 (Serampore - Bagbazar via Dakshineswar) started from as early as 1928. CTC (Calcutta Tramways Corporation) also started employing bus services from 1920. So, before writing about route numbering in Kolkata, let’s have a brief look at the history of bus services in Kolkata.
The 1st private bus service was started in 1918 headed by A. Abdul Shovan. Then, from 1918 onwards, companies like Walford Company and other small private bus operators had started operating in some major routes of Kolkata, like 2, 2A, 3 .. 11, 12, 12A .. 38. The Regional Transport Authority (RTA) was established in 1940 which issued permits to bus operators to run their respective bus routes.
After independence, in 1948, STUs like CSTC (Calcutta State Transport Corporation) and WBSTC (West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation) were developed and CTC was nationalized. Most of the then running routes were acquired by CSTC, but due to lack of sufficient no. of buses and regular strikes, private bus services resumed and some routes acquired by CSTC were returned back to private operators. Recently all have been merged to form the single organisation called WBTC (West Bengal Transport Corporation).
Now coming to route numbering, the basic idea is that RTA initially releases permits for designated routes with respective numbers. A private operator willing to buy some buses applies a permit on any of these routes, after which RTA issues an offer letter and the operator proceeds for further actions. For Government buses, the routes are decided by the STUs themselves - they just need to get their fare charts approved by respective RTAs.
There are 6 main RTA s for issuing permits of routes for Kolkata:
1. Beltala RTA (Kolkata)
2. Alipore RTA (Kolkata / South 24 Parganas)
3. Barasat RTA (North 24 Parganas)
4. Barrackpore RTA (North 24 Parganas)
5 & 6. Apart from them, Howrah and Hooghly RTAs also issue some routes connecting the city to the respective districts. So there are a lot of route number series presently running on Kolkata roads, issued by these RTAs.
Trams of Kolkata
Serving the people for over a century, Kolkata is the only Indian city to have a functioning tramway network. However, due to several causes, the number of tram routes have dwindled to only 3 fully functional routes. Team Kolkata bus-o-pedia feels that trams are necessary as means of green transport in an era where Kolkata is listed as one of the most polluted cities in the World. Coupled with the vast historical and nostalgic value, trams are also environment friendly and we appeal to all of you to come together and join hands in saving the heritage of kolkata.