The premium bus service project for Kochi city has been put on hold.

This is following the notification of by-poll for the Ernakulam constituency and the model code of conduct coming into effect. According to the earlier schedule, the bus services for Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram were to begin on November 1, the Kerala formation day.

With the code coming into effect, the authorities have decided to use the eight buses allotted for the city in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation will begin the operation of premium bus service with 15 low floor AC and non-AC buses there.

The model code came into effect just before the State-level Empowered Committee for Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission giving its policy approval for operating the buses in the two cities. The approval of the empowered committee, the supreme body to take policy decisions regarding Mission projects, was required for starting the project, authorities said.

The by-poll to the Ernakulam constituency will be held on November 7 and the counting on November 10. The model code will be in force till the declaration of the results.

The empowered committee will take up the issue of Kochi city only after the model code ceases to exist.

The Kochi Corporation council has also postponed its deliberations on the routes of buses to a date after the by-poll.

The introduction of the fleet of luxury buses is with a view to reducing the number of private vehicles entering the city and thus reducing the traffic pressure on the city roads.

Besides the luxury buses, Kochi city will also get mini-buses for operation in the narrow city roads.

The introduction of the bus service is likely to be extended to December, as major decisions on the management of the buses need to be taken at government level, said C.K. Manisankar, Deputy Mayor, Kochi Corporation.

Bus routes

The Corporation council will also have to decide on its priorities regarding the bus routes.

A policy decision regarding the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has to be taken at government level for the management of the bus service.

Such decisions would be possible only after the by-poll, Mr. Manisankar said.

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