Home and Transport Minister R. Ashok on Tuesday announced that the 50-km travel limit on student bus passes will be extended to 60 km from the coming academic year for the benefit of students.

Speaking at the launch of several new buses and release of a KSRTC coffee-table book here, Mr. Ashok said the decision to extend the travel limit was taken after learning about difficulties faced by students in reaching their schools/colleges. This decision will apply to services of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North West KRTC and North East KRTC.

May Day gesture

As a May Day gesture, Mr. Ashok announced a hike of Rs. 1,000 in the stipend being paid to trainee drivers and conductors of the four RTCs, including Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. This decision will benefit over 26,000 trainee crew in these corporations, he said. The corporations, he said, have set apart Rs. 26 crore for various welfare schemes of employees.

Claiming that the RTCs in Karnataka have become model to other RTCs in the country, Mr. Ashok said BMTC was the first corporation to induct BS4 complaint buses in the country.

“This is to strictly adhere to emission norms prescribed by the Union government,” he said.

Mr. Ashok said that the KSRTC has been using ethanol blended diesel and bio diesel in some of its buses to popularise use of green fuel and to reduce environment pollution. However, it incurs Rs. 2 extra expenditure for every litre of such fuel, he said and urged the government to reimburse the amount.

With the success of city bus services in Tumkur and Hassan towns, the RTCs have planned to introduce similar services in almost all district headquarters, the Minister announced. KSRTC will commence city bus services in Kolar shortly, he said.

On various development works taken up by the RTCs, Mr. Ashok said that the multi-modal transit centre at Peenya in Bangalore will shortly be commissioned to decongest the central business district.

Speaking after launching the coffee table book, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda assured Mr. Ashok of reimbursing the additional amount spent on green fuel. Complimenting the RTCs of the State, Mr. Sadananda Gowda said that the government will render all help to the RTCs in their endeavour to serve the general public. He flagged off several premium class buses of KSRTC and BMTC.

The coffee table book, brought out to mark 50 years of KSRTC (1961-2011), pictorially features the growth of public transport in Karnataka. The Chief Minister felicitated KSRTC's Public Relation Officer T.S. Latha, who compiled the book, and presented her a reward of Rs. 10,000.

H.N. Ananth Kumar, MP; M. Krishnappa and C.N. Ashwath Narayan, MLAs; Principal Secretary, Transport Department, P.B. Ramamurthy; Managing Directors of KSRTC and BMTC N. Manjunath Prasad; and K.R. Srinivasa were present.