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KSRTC plans more bus services in city

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NEW SERVICES: Transport Minister Jose Thettayil flags off nine non-AClow floor buses of the KSRTC in the city on Friday.
NEW SERVICES: Transport Minister Jose Thettayil flags off nine non-AClow floor buses of the KSRTC in the city on Friday.

Staff Reporter

Daily collection by premium service buses in Kochi increasing, says Minister

KOCHI: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has plans to begin more city services in Kochi. The proposal to begin 20 bus services from the city to the Goshree Islands has been held up following a stay order of the court, Transport Minister Jose Thettayil said on Friday.

He was referring to a section of private bus operators challenging in court the RTC's decision to begin service to the islands. Speaking here on Friday evening at a function organised to launch the agency's nine low-floor non-AC buses in the city, he said that the buses would begin regular services from Saturday along the Chottanikkara-Aluva, Panangad-Aluva and the Njarakkal-Poothotta routes, all passing through Vytilla and Menaka. Parking facilities are being readied for the buses.

“A few people had doubts about the feasibility of operating the 13 Volvo buses (of the total 50 planned) in Kochi. Their daily collection is increasing by the day and is above Rs. 40 per km. We need to enhance it to Rs 48 per km, to achieve the break-even stage. On a recent day, their total collection in Kochi peaked at Rs 3.33 lakh. The workers manning the buses have been handpicked from among the best in the RTC.”

‘High demand'

In her address, Mayor Mercy Williams said that the Volvo buses in the city are high in demand, even from families which go on outings. “Vypeen residents have been demanding more buses to their area from the city.

There is also demand for circular bus services through the NH bypass, Thammanam. With the induction of mini buses in the city under the JNNURM scheme becoming uncertain, there is need to introduce buses through side roads.”

Though the KSRTC has been operating the bus services, a special purpose vehicle must be formed as per the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) guidelines, she said.

Welcoming the gathering, Sharaf Mohammed, the RTC's chief traffic officer and Special Officer for Volvo buses, said that Kochi and Thiruvanathapuram would together get 320 premium buses under the JNNURM scheme, thus boosting public transport in the two cities.

The buses have LED display boards and have Rs 5 as the minimum fare. They have air suspension and are designed for easy boarding and alighting. The doors are wide enough and people can enter and get down at the same time through the same door, reducing the waiting time at bus stops. Their low platforms, like in the RTC's 13 Volvo buses currently operating in the city, enable aged and handicapped people to get in with ease.

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