State-run Volvo buses will now connect Purulia, Jhargram, Farakka and Asansol to Kolkata with most of the buses travelling overnight.
Senior officers of the South Bengal State Transport Corporation (SBSTC) said the buses will be especially helpful for people coming to Kolkata for work.
The buses will reach early in the morning. Those availing them can leave the city late in the evening after a workday.
“Over time, we hope tourists going to Jhargram and Purulia will also find benefit in these services,” said Firhad Hakim, the state minister in charge of transport and housing.
On Wednesday, Hakim flagged off the bus services from the transport department’s office off EM Bypass near Ruby hospital.
The bus to Purulia will leave Kolkata at 10pm and cover parts of Arambagh, Kotolpur and Bishnupur to reach Esplanade by 5.30am the next day. The one-way fare will be Rs 590.
The bus to Farakka will leave at 9pm from Esplanade and reach at 5.30am. The return trip will start at 9pm reaching Kolkata by 5.30am. The fare has been fixed at Rs 660.
The bus for Asansol will leave Kolkata at 8pm and reach by 12.30am. The return trip will start at 2pm and reach Kolkata by 6.30pm. The fare for a one-way trip will be Rs 500.
The bus for Jhargram will leave Esplanade at 5pm and reach by 9.30pm. The bus for the return journey will leave Jhargram at 7am and reach the city by 11.30am. The fare will be Rs 390 for a one-way trip.
“The fares have been kept competitive against that of private operators and we believe the services will help connect far-off places to Kolkata within a stipulated time,” a senior SBSTC official said.
The transport department, running on an annual subsidy of over Rs 550 crores, has been struggling to script a turnaround by cutting costs and increasing its annual revenue earnings.
Officers of the ailing SBSTC said they hope to cash in on the festive season ahead to make the most of this bus connectivity considering the number of tourists who go to Purulia and Jhargram in the winters.