Though the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) had issued permits to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to operate exclusive Vyttila-Vyttila services in the city over a year ago, most of the services are currently being diverted out of the city limits.
The RTA had given permits to the KSRTC to ply 12 Vyttila-Vyttila services for the benefit of the public. Though the KSRTC rolled out some newly-launched non A/C low floor buses for the purpose and operated the services for a few days, it was re-routed to the suburbs for various reasons.
Very few non-A/C or A/C low floor buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) are found plying on the city roads as most are being are put into service in the suburbs, in areas like Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, Piravom and Perumbavoor.
“The KSRTC can garner profits if the management takes the pain to utilise the services effectively. The officials at the Ernakulam depot decided to divert the services as it was creating huge losses for the Corporation.
Now, of the 12 Vyttila-Vyttila circular services, only two non A/C buses are plying as circular services. Since we are supposed to compete with 40 private Vyttila circular services, there is no use operating only two of our services,” said A Boban, state organising secretary of KSRTC Drivers Union.
The drivers suggested that the services could be made profitable if the management decides to increase the running time of the buses meant to be operated in the city.
“When the Corporation initially started operating the circular service, the running time was fixed at 55 minutes for each trip. While, the private buses do not have any fixed running time, the Corporation’s rigid attitude to operate the 12 services within 55 minutes each was the main reason why the services were running at a loss,” sources said.
“As per the norms, we will not even be able to wait for two minutes at each stop. If a change is made in the running time, it would be beneficial to both the KSRTC as well as the public, they said.
KSRTC Ernakulam depot ATO C K Radhakrishnan said that they had operated six of the 12 permitted services when they received the permission from the RTA last year. “However, the services faced huge losses. Also, there was stiff competition from the private buses that hardly even entered the Vyttila Mobility Hub. The services are now being rendered in the suburbs as they are generating better profits for the KSRTC,” he said.