Six more buses are set to join KSRTC’s Volvo city-bus fleet, taking their total number to 46.
With this, all that Kochi needs is four more buses to fulfil the obligation under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme, which set apart funds to procure 50 Volvo buses for Kochi. As for semi-low-floor buses, adding two more of them will take their number to 120 — the fleet strength fixed under the scheme.
The officer in charge of Volvo buses in the region, Antony V. X., said paper work was on so that two more buses can hit the road within 2 weeks in the Fort Kochi-international airport route. “Our aim is to ensure that a Volvo bus plies in the route every hour. A quarter of the 23 trips in the route move through the NH Bypass and the rest through the city. Another route where there is very high demand for AC buses is between Mattancherry and Perumbavoor.”
The KSRTC plans to reduce the waiting time in this route to around two hours from the present four.
Mr. Antony said many of the buses were not earning Rs 50 per km, the cut-off point to make the services break-even. “The hike in diesel price has increased the fuel expense by around Rs 800 per day. The fare of JNNURM bus services was not revised during the past two bus-fare revisions.”
Reacting to the acute shortage of buses through the NH Bypass to places like Chertala and Aluva, a senior official in the agency said this would be looked into. The RTC also needs more night services from the city to towns in the suburbs.
The RTC’s Chief Traffic Officer and the Special Officer for Volvo buses Sharaf Mohammed said with six more buses being allotted to Kochi, the agency operates 310 of the 320 (Volvo and semi-low floor) buses earmarked under the JNNURM scheme for Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
“A workshop will be set up in Thiruvananthapuram for Volvo buses,” he said.
KSRTC will soon restore the three Garuda Volvo services in the Thiruvananthapuram-Bangalore sector. The buses were pulled out of service for repairs.