Kerala government plans to scrap colour-code mandate in tourist buses

The government initially imposed the plain colour mandate following a tragic bus accident at Vadakkancherry in Palakkad two years ago that resulted in the loss of nine lives, including five students.
Image used for representative purpose only.
Image used for representative purpose only. (Photo | Express)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tourist buses in the state may soon be allowed to display colourful body paints as the State Transport Authority (STA) is considering reversing its decision to enforce a uniform white and purple colour scheme.

This potential change aims to cater to younger passengers, particularly college students, who prefer buses adorned with intricate paintwork and stickers for their journeys. However, there are concerns within the bus industry regarding safety implications and the possibility of unhealthy competition to create visually appealing buses.

The government initially imposed the plain colour mandate following a tragic bus accident at Vadakkancherry in Palakkad two years ago that resulted in the loss of nine lives, including five students. The STA meeting on Wednesday is expected to revisit this policy.

Former transport minister Antony Raju had implemented the uniform colour code for all contract carriages in response to the accident. In contrast, the current Transport Minister K B Ganesh Kumar, known for reversing many of his predecessor's decisions, reportedly supports allowing more diverse and colourful bus designs. The dramatic shift in a short span has put contract carriage operators in a fix.

Two major bus operator organisations challenged the decision during a recent STA meeting on July 3. The Contract Carriage Operators Federation approached the High Court seeking to maintain the status quo.

“The decision to scrap colour code in buses will lead to unhealthy competition. Repainting costs at least 80,000, and almost all bus operators have adhered to the colour code. There is no need for the STA to revisit a settled topic,” said Sebastian Kuttikkat, president of the Contract Carriage Operators Federation.

The Contract Carriage Operators Association (CCOA) also plans to submit a letter to the STA secretary opposing the decision to remove the uniform colour code.

“Frequent changes in bus body colour are detrimental to the industry. Owners are delaying the registration of their new vehicles due to this uncertainty,” said S Prasanthan, the general secretary of the CCOA.

An official with the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) suggested that the STA might propose a compromise by allowing bus operators to choose from a predefined set of approved colours. However, strict regulations regarding the placement of body stickers, particularly those covering headlights and tail lamps, are expected to remain in force.

The MVD initiated Operation Focus 3 to enforce the rules and guidelines for contract carriages following the Vadakkancherry accident. The rule mandated that contract carriage vehicles must be painted white, with a violet and metallic gold stripe on either side of the body.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com