The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is set to get 131 new buses by the middle of next month. The new superfast buses will hit the road under the new platform of KSRTC-SWIFT, the independent entity formed to operate long-distance and electric buses. The first of the 131 superfast buses reached the city recently from Bengaluru. The remaining buses will arrive by March 15, said a statement from the corporation.
These buses will be used for budget tourism activities in March and April once the trial run and registration process are completed. They will ply on long-distance routes by mid-May after a feasibility study of routes. The body of the bus has been built on Ashok Leyland’s 12-metre-long chassis. The new bus will have 55 seats instead of 52 in the earlier superfast buses.
The more spacious air suspension buses will have features such as a 32-inch TV for displaying advertisements and a 360-degree camera in the front dashboard and rear side. An announcement system has also been provided in the bus, which will be audible for even passengers standing outside.
Tubeless tyres, comfortable seats, emergency door, GPS system, mobile charging points at each seat, and the facility to affix advertisements on the back of the seats are some of the highlights of the new buses manufactured as per the BS6 norms. These buses are also equipped with ‘i-alert system’ to monitor the technical functions of the buses online, said the statement.
No VRS for employees
Meanwhile, the KSRTC management has denied reports that the corporation is planning a compulsory voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) for employees and that it has prepared a list of 7,200-odd people above 50 years with more than 20 years of service.
Compulsory VRS itself was a misnomer, the corporation said. It had submitted a ₹200-crore proposal to implement the VRS scheme two years ago. But the State government made it clear then that it would not allot funds for the scheme. After that, a furlough leave plan was introduced as per which employees aged above 45 would be given leave with 50% salaries for 1 to 5 years. But a strong campaign was made against the scheme saying that those taking furlough leave would be fired after some time.
The statement issued by the management said any decision on implementing VRS would be taken only after discussions with the recognised unions. At present, the management had no such proposal, it said.