The letter ‘Z’ on bus number plates in our state has raised a lot of questions in the minds of a common man on several occasions, the question is why all APSRTC/TSRTC buses featured the letter ‘Z’ in their bus number plate? One would think that it’s just a random alphabet that has been assigned to the buses. Every bus which is owned and operated by the Road transport corporation has the letter ‘Z’ on its number plate which indicates that it is not a random alphabet.
The letter ‘Z’ on the license plates represents Zahra Begum, who was the mother of the last monarch of the ancient Hyderabad state, Mir Osman Ali Khan, Nizam VII, In June 1932 Nizam’s road transport was founded as a division of nizam state rail. With just 27 buses and 166 staff, it was later renamed Nizam’s State Rail and Road Transport Department (N.S.R.R.T.D.).
In honour of Zahra Begum, the letter ‘Z’ has appeared in the vehicle registration numbers of every vehicle owned by the N.S.R.R.T.D. And when the nizam gave over his dominion to the Indian government on September 17, 1948, one of the agreements that was negotiated with the Indian government was that every R.T.C bus registration number shall continue to carry the letter “Z.”
There are buses with the letters such as ‘X,’ ‘Y,’ ‘W,’ ‘UA,’ ‘UB,’ etc. These are hired buses from private individuals and are run by RTC. Those are not buses owned by the RTC. This kind gesture by the last Nawab is why we still use the letter ‘Z’ on the licence plates today.