Image Courtesy: The Hindu

The KSRTC’s decision to deploy a bulk of air-conditioned low-floor buses as Bypass Rider services on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode route through the national highway and MC Road must not be at the cost of premium services it operated from the city to its suburbs, according to passengers.

Among them, there was sound demand for services to, among other places, Muvattupuzha, Angamaly, Aluva, and Piravom, mainly from regular passengers, a bulk of whom are office-goers and women.

Among regular commuters on the city-Muvattupuzha route, till buses were withdrawn in the wake of the pandemic, was Siby joseph, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Roads and Bridges Development Corporation of Kerala (RBDCK). “Myself and my colleague used to commute 90 km to and fro each day in either AC low-floor or fast passenger [FP] buses on the route. I shifted to car when they were withdrawn. The AC low-floor buses, which enjoyed good patronage, have not resumed service, although a few FP services have begun operations,” he said.

According to him, car journeys are a hassle, since it caused driver fatigue, especially during the return trip back home. Late evening drives are especially risky, since roads are not well lit. The KSRTC must resume AC bus services as soon as possible, so that people who now commute in personalised vehicles can shift to public transport, Mr. Joseph said.

Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR) chairman D. Dhanuraj said the KSRTC, which enjoyed monopoly along the NH and other nationalised routes, must resume premium bus services to suburban towns, to lessen traffic congestion and pollution caused by cars and two-wheelers. “It will also help commuters save substantial amounts spent on fuel. Sadly, decision-makers seem clueless or lack will power to streamline public transport modes in the State.”

The KSRTC must also improve its services, from manpower training to upkeep and reliability of its buses, he added.

However, Tajudeen V.M., the Ernakulam zonal officer of the KSRTC, said AC buses from the Volvo stable raked in higher income when they were operated on long-distance routes between districts, rather than in suburban corridors which could make do with conventional non-AC buses.

This article was first published in The Hindu

D. Dhanuraj
D. Dhanuraj
Dr D Dhanuraj is the Chairman and Managing Trustee of CPPR. He holds a PhD in Science & Humanities (Anna University), MSc Physics (Mahatma Gandhi University) and MA Political Science (Madras Christian College). He also holds a Post Graduate Executive Diploma in International Business from Loyola Institute of Business Administration, Chennai, and has undergone training by TTMBA of Atlas USA, IAF Germany, FEE USA, etc. His core areas of expertise are in urbanisation, urban transport & infrastructure, education, health, livelihood, law, and election analysis. He can be contacted by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @dhanuraj

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *