The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation decision to slash 25 per cent of its schedules will fatten up private transporters, alleges KSRTC Employees’ Association (CITU).
The general secretary of the association, Jose Jacob, claims that the corporation management has colluded with private bus operators in tweaking schedules, reducing the number of long-distance buses, refusing to buy new buses and in quitting profitable routes.
The transport corporation’s reluctance to renew inter-state contract with Tamil Nadu was a pointer to authorities’ bid to strangle the corporation for the benefit of private players, he said.
The hike in diesel price had helped mask the real agenda behind the government move, he said. “Long before the latest problem arose, the corporation had been cutting down schedules.”
Compared with 2011, the corporation was poorer by 400 buses now, he said. The corporation owns 5,870 buses, plying 5,560 schedules.
He claimed the corporation appeared to have no plans to replace the two air-conditioned Volvo buses plying between Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore. “These buses are old and not suited for long distance services.”
Similarly, long-distance services like Deluxe, Super Express and Super are around five years old and can’t catch up with private luxury and multi-axle bus services. They have started plying even on routes within the State, he alleged as he pointed out that there were services by such coaches, without permit, between places like Thiruvananthapuram and Thodupuzha.
KSRTC will not be able to cut down schedules in which collection was below Rs. 5,000 per schedule because of pressure from local leaders like MLAs or MPs. However, he felt that the transport corporation could make good the loss on the diesel front by increasing the number of schedules by buying more buses. He alleged that the bulk of the luxury coaches were owned by politicians in the ruling front.