THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Transport Department is all set to receive a major facelift, when 20 of its brand-new dark yellow buses would be pressed into ring road service, intended to connect the rural areas with the city, next week. “The project is the first of its kind in the State. The pilot project will be launched in Thiruvananthapuram city, to be soon followed by Kottayam, Thrissur and Malappuram. The service aims to facilitate connectivity between the rural areas and the city. Besides, the passengers from the rural areas would find it easy to travel to specific locations like Medical College Hospital and Secretariat,” said Transport Minister V S Sivakumar.
The circular service would start functioning by linking a couple of bus depots with the project, which is being implemented using the budget allocation for KSRTC, amounting to Rs 57 crore.
Though the service would start with 20 buses, it is learnt that more would be purchased in the near future. The distribution of buses would be made on taluk-basis. The buses would operate from a particular depot and connect various specific points before culminating at the depot from where the service had started.
Though the plan for the new service has elicited positive response from the public, some of the officials with the KSRTC have aired concerns over the viability of the project. ”The first and foremost concern we have is about the revenue the new service would generate. Currently, the department is reeling under debt and if the project fails, the liabilities would shoot up,” said an official. But the Minister appeared unperturbed and said that, “making profit is not the lone motive of the KSRTC. It is a service intended for public welfare.”
Meanwhile, the registration process of the buses manufactured by Ashok Leyland has been completed.