The Hindu|June 4, 2016 05:35 IST |M.P. PRAVEEN
As the district panchayat gears up to observe yet another Bus Day on June 6, it marks another revival of a concept, which was launched with much fanfare but never met its intended objectives.
Celebrities, along with elected representatives and the District Collector, are likely to use public transport for the 6-km stretch from Kakkanad to Palarivattom on the day.
District panchayat president Asha Sanil said that while sweets would be distributed in the bus, unlike in the previous occasions, no free journey will be offered on the latest edition of Bus Day.
The first edition of Bus Day was organised in December 2010 soon after the Vyttila Mobility Hub was thrown open to public. Then Transport Minister Jose Thettayil inaugurated the event, even as actors Dileep, Siddique, and Remya Nambeesan participated.
Runs out of steam
The idea was to observe Bus Day once in every month, but it never materialised. Just three Bus Days were celebrated in 2010 before a minor revival three years later proving short-lived.
“Dusting off the concept once in a while will serve no purpose. It should be organised in a regular manner, covering areas hitherto not served by public transport, so that with each Bus Day, the gaps are filled. It calls for decisions like introducing buses and collective participation of campuses and residents associations,” said D. Dhanuraj, chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Research, which originally mooted the idea.
Transportation expert Dijo Kappen said the observation of Bus Day had no impact on public transport. He alleged the low-floor buses granted under JNNURM to de-clog city traffic were usurped by the KSRTC and were deployed on routes outside the respective district.
“Even the Thiru-Kochi KSRTC services, which were aimed at ending the dominance of private operators, were sabotaged. They were taken away for special services and were not deployed back despite passengers increasingly preferring them to the over-speeding private buses,” Mr. Kappen added.
“The Mayor or Minister making a short trip using public transport only to speed away in their cars after the photo-op does not serve any purpose. Instead, they should go for public transport at least once in a week, which may prove highly motivating,” he said.