The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) began its Volvo bus service between Bejai and Mangalore airport on a trial basis on Friday.
The bus travels to the airport via Karnataka Polytechnic, Bondel, and Kavoor. The leaves Bejai bus-stand at 7.05 a.m., 10.05 a.m., 1.05 p.m., and 4.20 p.m. It leaves airport at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 2.15 p.m., and 5.15 p.m.
A KSRTC official at Mangalore Division told The Hindu that 14 passengers travelled by the bus on the first day. It collected Rs. 1,400 in four trips. The fare from the airport to the KSRTC bus-stand at Bejai and vice-versa is Rs. 100 a person. The fare from Kavoor to the airport was Rs. 100 a passenger. The bus service did not go well with taxi drivers at the airport on Friday. There were heated arguments between taxi drivers and KSRTC employees over parking of the bus in front of the terminal building. The police had to intervene to ensure that the situation did not get out of control. Fearing that the bus service would eat into their business, the taxi drivers opposed parking of the bus in front of the arrival and departure hall in the terminal building.
They argued that if the bus was parked there, passengers would not approach the pre-paid taxi counter to hire taxis. Instead they would board the bus.
The taxi drivers demanded that the bus should be parked at the car parking.
The KSRTC officials argued that if the bus was parked at the parking place it would not attract passengers. After the director of Mangalore Airport M. R. Vasudeva intervened, the KSRTC employees agreed to park the bus at the parking place after dropping passengers in front of the departure hall.
Sources in the KSRTC told The Hindu that unless the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) permitted it to operate the bus from Mangalore central railway station to the airport via Hampankatta and Lalbagh, the service would not help many passengers.