G. Anand

370 non air-conditioned buses to join inter-State fleet

KSRTC to start courier service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is planning to operate at least 20 new air-conditioned stage carriage services on a daily basis to various destinations in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu this year.

The Corporation will acquire the required number of coaches in August. It will add 370 non air-conditioned buses (having air-cushions for shock absorbers) to its inter-State fleet by January, 2008. Students and white collar workers who travel regularly between Kerala and its neighbouring States stand to benefit from the new operations.

The KSRTC hopes to compete with rival private sector operators by competitively pricing tickets, operating reliably on inter-State routes and building a passenger-friendly brand image.

The KSRTC’s long-distance operations, mostly to Bangalore, Coimbatore and allied destinations, will be spread across various depots in Kerala. The State Government is scheduled to hold discussions with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu next month for opening new inter-State bus routes. The KSRTC hopes to bring down its monthly deficit, currently over Rs.16 crore, to Rs. 6 crore next year. It has 25,000 employees. Contract carriage operators who illegally conduct stage carriage service on inter-State routes and parallel service operators are a major threat to its revenue. The KSRTC has requested the Transport Commissioner to check such illegal operators.

The Corporation will add 1,000 new buses to its domestic fleet by February, 2008. The buses will be built at the Corporation-owned coach manufacturing units to save cost. Over 450 old buses will be phased out next year.

The Corporation will launch a courier service, labelled ‘Garuda’. Tenders will be floated inviting private agencies to operate the service on a contract basis.