THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After launching the ‘unlimited stop ordinary service’ in the district, KSRTC is considering the launch of feeder services that can ease travel woes of those living farther from major routes. The feeder services consist of small buses hired for transporting passengers from remote locations to major bus stops. KSRTC managing director Biju Prabhakar has mooted the idea to check the decrease in passengers and unauthorised parallel services thriving in various parts of the district.
“There are plans to give a separate colour and design for the feeder service fleet to distinguish it from other services,” said an officer of KSRTC. The plan is considered to reverse the trend of people opting for unauthorised parallel services which has eaten into the revenue of KSRTC over the years.A pilot study regarding the feasibility of feeder service will be conducted for the by-routes of Neyyattinkara, Vellarada, Parassala, Vizhinjam, Poovar and Kattakada. The unit heads of these depots have been asked to provide suggestions regarding the operation of the feeder services.
Bus on Demand
KSRTC launched the first Bus on Demand (BOND) service in the state from Neyyattinkara on July 1. The non-stop services will be operated from these depots to various offices such as the Secretariat, Public Office, Jala Bhavan, AGs Office. The Legislative Assembly and Medical College compound has since become popular. The depot has also offered parking space for passengers to provide last-mile connectivity.
Check on parallel services
Though the KSRTC has a near monopoly on the route permits, several locations have seen an expansion of parallel services. The ready availability of buses that stop on demand has been popular among people who live in the suburbs. Pre-lockdown saw 700 parallel services using vehicles ranging from minibuses to tempo travellers in Neyyattinkara alone. In comparison, the depot used to have around 90 to 95 buses daily. Even though KSRTC had scheduled services to Manjavilakom-Karakonam, Pozhiyoor and Vellarada every 20 minutes, the parallel services made it a point to operate ahead of each schedule.
“This unauthorised operation resulted in a revenue loss of Rs 3 lakh a day to the depot. But KSRTC could not do much to control the same” said the officer. The KSRTC and Motor Vehicles Department(MVD) started two special squads to book such services. But these were not adequate.
The KSRTC unit head of Neyyatinkara was manhandled by the illegal transport service operators when he objected to the entry of their vehicles inside the depot last year. Two officials of the Neyyattinkara Sub Regional Transport Office were attacked in retaliation as MVD vehicles operatong seized illegal services in the area in 2017. The illegal operators were fined Rs 5,000 for violating permit rules. But the fines hardly proved to be a deterrent as most of the operators restart their illegal services.