THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ten electric buses launched by the KSRTC in the state during the Sabarimala season have not yet started its operation on the new routes even a month after the end of the pilgrimage season.
Though the authorities had announced the e-bus will ply soon on the state roads, these are also bound to meet the same fate as a number of other buses of the corporation and may stay idle. According to a corporate officer, the seat arrangement in the buses was suited to city services and have to be changed to suit long services. So the work on changing the existing seat arrangement is underway and once complete, the buses will be pressed into long haul services.
The KSRTC has plans to schedule these e-buses in long routes including Ernakulam and Kozhikode. The maintenance is being done by the bus company as per a wet-lease agreement.
“Since the seats of the e-buses that plied during the Sabarimala season are not comfortable for long route operations, the buses are now in the workshop for attaching headrests. As soon as the buses are ready with new seats we will begin the service,” said KSRTC managing director M P Dinesh.
The former CMD has earlier declared that after the Sabarimala special service the e-bus will operate in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kozhikode and Munnar. Meanwhile, the present MD said the routes for the e-bus will be decided based on the feasibility and viability. The corporation is also evaluating the performance of the buses before taking a final call on the issue.
However, the KSRTC trade unions cast doubt on the success of the corporation’s eco-friendly move. “The initiative to operate the e-bus in long routes will harm the corporation. There are a lot of drawbacks of e-buses which is being ignored by the administrative authorities. As the e-bus batteries are not available in India, its maintenance here will not be an easy task like other corporation buses,” said a union member.