Anil Kumar Sastry
The corporation will deploy nearly 100 buses on seven routes; plans to start operation by March
KSRTC has prepared a detailed plan to begin the city service operations
Specially designed buses to be deployed to suit coastal weather conditions
BANGALORE: After successfully breaking the monopoly of private operators in some of the lucrative routes in Dakshina Kannada district, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has decided to deploy over 100 buses for Mangalore city operations.
If everything goes as planned and the corporation gets permits to operate city services, it is likely to launch the services as early as March next. The corporation has prepared a detailed plan to begin the city service operations following directions from Transport Minister R. Ashok.
Once the services become operational, Mangalore will join the list of some of the few cities, including Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad and others to have exclusive city operations by Road Transport Corporations. Since Mangalore is a non-monopoly sector, KSRTC cannot deploy buses according to its wish and has to get permit from the Transport Department just like private operators.
KSRTC Managing Director Gaurav Gupta told The Hindu here on Wednesday that the corporation would make necessary applications before the Regional Transport Authority seeking permits. “KSRTC has gained substantial ground on some routes, namely Mangalore-B.C. Road, Mangalore-Puttur, Mangalore-Uppinangadi and Mangalore-Dharmasthala and other routes, hitherto dominated by private operators,” he said.
The corporation would build buses to suit the local requirement and the coastal weather condition, Mr. Gupta said adding a prototype of the bus was ready. Instead of using steel extensively on the bus body, wood may be used to avoid corrosion as well as to reduce heat. According to KSRTC Director (Operations) K.A. Rajkumar, the specially designed buses would be no inferior to private buses and, in fact, would be more passenger-friendly.
The study commissioned by the corporation has identified the routes on which the buses have to be operated, the number of buses required for each route, the number of personnel required and the infrastructure in the form of depots. Based on the study report, the KSRTC will initially deploy over 100 buses on seven routes. Depending upon the public response and the performance of the buses, a decision will be taken to augment the operations, Mr. Gupta said. Mr. Rajkumar said for introducing 100 additional buses, KSRTC will have to set up one more depot in Mangalore, where already two depots are functioning to cater to inter-city operations. “In fact, we want to compete with private operators and prove that our services are better to theirs,” Mr. Rajkumar noted.
Defending KSRTC’s move to venture into city operations, Mr. Gupta said as a public corporation, it was KSRTC’s responsibility to ensure that an efficient public transport system was in place. “Otherwise, people will resort to private modes of transport like two-wheelers and cars resulting in congestion on roads and increased levels of air pollution,” he noted.
City operations in Mangalore are looked after by private operators, who have deployed over 350 buses on different routes. While people appreciate punctuality in services of these private operators, they are concerned over the rude behaviour of the crew, rash and negligent driving and lack of safety of other road users.