Marginal improvement in occupancy for KSRTC’s new circular services in Kerala capital

The occupancy levels in the city circular bus services launched by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) recently have shown signs of marginal improvement. From an average daily passenger count of 3,200 across 66 buses in the initial week, the numbers have now gone up to 16,000 a day.

The average ticket collection is around ₹19 per kilometre, with KSRTC officials maintaining that it should reach at least ₹35 for the service to become sustainable.

The circular services, formally launched in November-end, are aimed at expanding public transportation in the city to more areas, and linking government offices, hospitals, shopping centres and other major institutions. In the initial phase, the service is being conducted along seven circles, each designated with separate colours – red, blue, brown, yellow, violet, magenta and orange. Buses ply the designated routes in the clockwise and anti-clockwise directions, ensuring availability of transport at regular intervals of about 15 minutes at most places.

Lack of awareness

However, in the initial days, many of the buses were seen plying with just a handful of passengers. The low patronage was mainly attributed to a lack of awareness. Following this, the KSRTC launched the ₹10 ticket offer to travel anywhere in the city. The introductory offer, which will be effective till January 15, seems to have somewhat paid off.

The Good Day ticket of ₹50, with which a person can travel in any circular service anywhere in the city for a whole day, was aimed especially at those visiting the city from elsewhere and those having to take multiple trips during the day.

As per the KSRTC’s analysis, the brown circle service, which takes the East Fort-Thampanoor- Killippalam-Jagathy-Thirumala-Valiyavila route is the most popular one. On Thursday, the brown circle service was used by 1,753 persons in the clockwise direction and 1,594 in the anti-clockwise throughout the day.

The green circle service covering the East Fort-Uppidamoodu-Pettah-Medical College route too is witnessing a considerable number of passengers.

The route recording the least patronage is the red circle service that covers East Fort-PMG-Vikas Bhavan-Nandavanam camp-Bakery junction-Thycaud route. According to KSRTC officials, those travelling shorter distances within the city might not choose this service due to the roundabout route via Vikas Bhavan.

Extension plans

“As per our analysis, we need to reach ticket sales of ₹35 per kilometre to meet the diesel cost, depreciation of buses and crew wages. Currently, the circular services have an average ticket sales of ₹19 per kilometre, with it going up to ₹23 on some days and a low of ₹16 on others. We are studying occupancy patterns, but there won’t be any changes immediately. There are plans to extend it to eight more routes, including coastal areas, for which a survey is being conducted. To increase awareness of the services, we are also distributing booklets about its advantages,” said a KSRTC official.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 3:46:16 am |