89 Thirukochi buses to be deployed
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is chalking out plans to operate night services after more Thirukochi buses join its fleet in the coming months.
The corporation plans to run buses on arterial and circular routes every 30 minutes or so. The service is expected to benefit commuters who reach the city late or work late into the night, who are otherwise at the mercy of autorickshaw drivers. People are forced to hitch rides in private vehicles or goods carriers even from busy junctions like Vyttila, because of irregular bus services after 8.30 pm.
Among the worst affected are sales personnel, many of them women, who find it tough to reach their homes and hostels after duty time.
“Eighty-nine buses will be purchased using plan funds and deployed for the Thirukochi service. Residents’ associations, merchants’ bodies and other organisations have been frequently demanding night service buses and some of the new buses will operate well into the night,” said Ernakulam assistant transport officer C. Venugopalan.
He said the RTC would extend the starting time of its daily shifts since not all buses that begin their service early in the morning get a good collection. Buses that begin service around 10 a.m. could thus ply up to 11 p.m. or 11.30 p.m. since most drivers work double duty. A good share of the new buses will be used along circular routes like Vyttila-Ernakulam-Vyttila.
Mr. Venugopalan said efforts were on to prevent buses plying as a bunch along the same route. “Steps are being taken to ensure better coordination between different depots so that buses do not go as convoys. We have also asked the bus crew to avoid convoy services, so that buses do not ply one after the other as a chain,” he said.
Passengers and a few organisations had taken up the issue with RTC officials as many of them had to wait for a long time till the next lot of RTC buses arrived in a convoy. This also reduced the daily collection of many buses.
With the main bus depot in the city running out of space, all city buses will be berthed at a five-acre plot in Thevara where the KSRTC has plans to build a depot. “The work to metal the ground is on. An office and workshop have been planned within the premises,” Mr. Venugopalan said.