KOCHI: Amid concerns of limited number of passengers and diminishing returns, private buses finally resumed services in Kochi on Thursday. The surprise start in the wake of objections over ticket rates came a day after KSRTC relaunched its operations.
As people were unaware of the services, many buses remained almost empty. “It was a huge letdown for us. Though we understand people are worried and services were started without prior information, we didn’t even get 10 passengers in most of the services. Many bus owners were forced to borrow money to fill fuel. We hope the situation will improve,” said M B Sathyan, president, Kerala Private Bus Operators’ Federation (KPBOF).
A total of 150 buses operated on the opening day in the city. “As many bus operators have filed G-Form for getting exemption from paying vehicle tax, welfare fund and insurance liability, we couldn’t start services of many buses on Thursday. An average of 20 buses will be added to the service in the coming days,” he said.
Many passengers said the bus owners could have announced the decision a bit earlier. “Many of us are coming from faraway places to the city daily. As KSRTC is operating only single service on such routes, we were fully dependent on private buses. As we didn’t know about the services, we were forced to opt expensive alternative options,” said Shyni V, a government employee. Apart from city services, many buses plied to Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and Paravoor.