Kochiites are likely to lose the opportunity of getting the service of more JNNURM low-floor buses, with the KSRTC averring that the city lacked suitable areas to operate the buses.
The KSRTC has made the submission before the Kerala High Court in response to an interim order by the HC to identify more routes in the city for plying JNNURM service.
The KSRTC responded that there were no more areas in Kochi City suitable for operating low-floor bus services. According to the KSRTC, the low floor-buses that are 4 metres long cannot be operated through the Panampilly Nagar route or Elamakkara route.
As many as 320 buses, including 80 A/C low-floor and 240 non-AC semi low-floor buses, were purchased for Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram cities. Of the 80 A/C buses, 30 were allocated to Thiruvananthapuram and 50 to Kochi. And 120 each non A/C buses for both cities.
According to sources, the low-floor buses ply in almost all the possible routes, including Fort Kochi, Angamaly, Aroor, Muvattupuzha and Kothamangalam.
Meanwhile, the submission made by the KSRTC has evoked huge public response in the social media. Adv K P Pradeep who submitted the petition against the KSRTC for operating the services outside the city has put forth a question to the public seeking to know of adequate places where the KSRTC can operate the buses. The FB post stated, “Friends let me know whether there are any other places suitable for JNNURM services in Kochi. Since the project includes Kochi corporation, Kalamassery and Tripunithura municipalities and 13 neighboring panchayats, including Vypeen and Chellanam, such areas also can be included in the suggestions.”
Ram Mohan responded in the social media that the KSRTC should provide adequate number of buses on routes like Ernakulam-Muvattupuzha which was a success and on similar routes. “The Ernakulam-Poothotta and Vyttila circular services were an utter failure due to many reasons. So they should promote the aforesaid routes within the district like Aluva, Perumbavoor, Piravom, Vaikom etc.,” he said.
Adv Arun Antony countered the KSRTC’s submission and suggested several routes including Tripunithura -(Seaport Airport road)-via Kalamassery - Varapuzha, High Court junction - Vypeen-Njarakkal-Munambam, Aluva - Piravom - Cherai route and Tripunithura -Kundannoor bridge- Thoppumpady- Chellanam- Kannamaly.
Another member, Cherumukkil Easwarawariyar Unnikrishnan, pointed out that the KSRTC could ply the service through Elamakkara on condition that the bues coming from Aluva are diverted from Changampuzha Park through Punnakkal, Perandoor, Pottakuzhy and Kaloor.
Ramesh Ravi pointed out that low-floor buses were not suitable for Kerala’s roads. “I had noticed in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, that the JNNRUM buses were different from those in the state. The buses in those states are manufactured according to their road condition. We don’t need the buses shaped like the ‘Kettuvallam’ for the city,” Ravi said. Nambiar Madhavan suggested that the KSRTC must make a route survey to analyse the road conditions before operating the scheme.