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Going gets tough for KURTC

The online ticket booking facility for low-floor AC buses has been  non-functional for the past  three months  l Many low-floor buses are lying idle, despite being functional

Published: 28th February 2020 06:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2020 06:48 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: When Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation launched AC Low-floor buses almost five years back, the public took it well. A great upgrade from the regular KSRTC vehicles—addressed lovingly by the masses as aanavandi—KURTC has air-conditioned buses that conducted services across the state at affordable rates.Flash forward to now, the venture has lost its way halfway and is now struggling to make ends meet. According to a controlling officer at the Thevara depot, almost 35 out of the total 104 buses are lying idle. 

“From nearly 80 services, we cut down to 52. A trip from Ernakulam to Thiruvananthapuram would mean at least `106 per kilometre spent on diesel, just to get the air-conditioning going. Now imagine making just `10,000 on the trip. It is not viable,” he adds.

Dysfunctional online platform
Just last year, KURTC resumed its chill bus services that offer air-conditioned hourly trips on Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram route via Alappuzha during the day between 6 am and 10 am. “I travel between Ernakulam and Kottayam regularly to shuttle between my home and work. The low-floor buses are a great help, as I don’t have to put up with the crowded train journey any more. I used to book tickets and travel every weekend, but the website seems to have been down for the last few months,” said Sreejith Diwakaran, an Infopark employee. 

Sreejith’s concern was shared by many other passengers—the fact that KURTC ticket booking site, the first link that turns up if you search for e-ticketing, shows zero results if you look for bus routes. The website http://www.kurtc.in/ that was started in 2015, along with www.kurtconline.com, are both dysfunctional as of now—the first one yields no result while the second is re-directed to a spam website.
Upon calling three enquiry numbers, we were redirected to https://www.keralartc.com/, a generic site for bookings across KSRTC, KURTC services, including interstate ones. 

“I think the website was dumped in November last year. A company named Radiant was in charge of the ticket booking and were taking `3.50 per booking as commission. Due to fund crunch, we opted for the new general website operators who are running the same service for 45 paise. A case is being held in the High Court regarding the tender agreement and such. The inactive portals would be taken down soon,” comments a senior KSRTC technical officer. 

Most senior officers were unavailable to comment, while those who did failed to give any solid answers.
 “We started Chill Bus services and Fly services to utilise the low-floor vehicles that were available and they are running successfully,” said District Transport Officer  V M Thajudheen Sahib.

site down 
 KURTC ticket booking site, the first link that turns up if you search for e-ticketing, shows zero results if you look for bus routes. The website http://www.kurtc.in/ that was started in 2015, along with www.kurtconline.com, are both dysfunctional as of now.



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