In a bid to extradite more revenue and better the passenger facilities in the state, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will soon roll out its city-based Volvo services from Kochi to other districts.
According to information received from the Transport Minister’s office, eight of the newly-launched low floor AC buses from Ernakulam will be expanded to five other districts in the state.
“The decision was taken two weeks ago. We are waiting for the government order in this regard. Once issued, the buses will ply to Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam,” said a top official with the Department.
It is learnt that the officials are expecting to receive the order by November-end.
As per the plans, the Volvo buses will start from Ernakulam and instead of travelling within the city will be utilised to take passengers to longer distances.
“The city-based services are not making much profit. This is why there were talks to extend the services to far off districts. This is expected to be successful,” the official said. According to him, one bus will run from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam in the morning. The other services to be rolled out are Ernakulam-Thrissur-Perinthalmanna-Nilambur and Ernakulam-Pala and two Ernakulam-Kozhikode via Ottapalam services.
When the Volvo buses were introduced in 2009, a decision was taken to operate inter-district services. However, the decision was curtailed because of the opposition from the local bodies and the KSRTC managing director, sources said.
“The Kochi Corporation has been citing that the KSRTC was not running the Volvo services based on the rules pointed out by the Central government (Volvo buses belong to the Central Government-funded Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission),” another source said.
Officials with the Transport Ministry admit that it was impossible to follow the strict norms laid by the Central Government in a state like Kerala. “This is why we are moving forward with our plans,” an official with the department said.
Speaking on this, experts point out that extending the city-based services to long-distance routes will benefit both the KSRTC and the public. “This is a proven example in Chennai. However, it is mandatory that the Transport Department change the format of the seats as it may prove to be a vexation for passengers,” he said.