Although Udupi is a district headquarter and a major pilgrim centre, it does not have a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) Bus Stand.
As many as 185 KSRTC buses pass through Udupi daily, while 24 KSRTC buses originate from Udupi. Currently, the KSRTC bus stand functions from a small complex built by the Udupi City Municipal Council (CMC) a decade ago, under the Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environment Project (KUDCEMP).
The KSRTC pays a rent to the CMC for the bus stand premises, while the latter takes care of its maintenance. But the bus stand is too congested: Passengers do not have enough seats, the bus stand lacks platforms, and the buses entering the bus stand have to compete for space.
According to B.C. Pavaskar, Traffic Controller at the KSRTC bus stand, only five buses can be parked at a time. “Since there are many buses leaving Udupi during the nights, accommodating them is a problem. It is even more difficult during the monsoon,” said a KSRTC staffer.
The Traffic Controllers function from a small room of 10 feet by 12 feet. It does not have any ventilation. The reservation for long-distance buses is also done in this small room. There is no security for the cash collected during the reservations.
The drivers and conductors of the long-distance buses have no rest rooms. “When such buses arrive during nights, the drivers and conductors go the KSRTC Depot at Nittur to take rest,” said Umapati, another Traffic Controller.
A long-pending proposal to construct the KSRTC bus stand on a three-acre land at Bannanje , is yet to take off. M. Mahesh, Divisional Controller, Mangalore Division, KSRTC, said the KSRTC had already submitted a proposal to the government in this regard.
The land indentified at Bannanje for the bus stand belonged to the Public Works Department (PWD) and has not been handed over to the KSRTC. “We can come up with a plan to construct a bus stand only after the land is handed over to us,” he said.