KERALA

KSRTC to streamline operation of low-floor buses

An air-conditioned low-floor bus of the KSRTC at Vytila. — File Photo  

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is bracing up to streamline the operation of air-conditioned and non-AC low-floor buses that it operates under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

This is because the services are yet to achieve break-even status, mainly because of inadequate marketing, unscientific scheduling in many routes and non-cooperation of a section of bus crew, said an RTC official. As a preliminary step, the agency would publish online (in www.keralartc.com) the detailed time schedules of the buses operating in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. “We hope to post the timings online in another week,” said the RTC's MD, Alexander K. Luke.

Referring to low-floor non-AC buses frequently encountering problems with their mechanical parts and electronic components, an RTC official said that they also have problems with the clutch. “We have sought better after-sales service from the manufacturer since we now have to pull out many buses from service for days together.”

Mr. Luke said that steps have been taken to reduce the turnaround time for all low-floor buses. “There are fewer buses currently in workshops.” On complaints that many low-floor buses are not washed properly, he said that the RTC is trying to find a firm which can do a neater job.

The agency currently pays Rs. 40 each day to a firm to clean each bus. Apart from cleaning the exteriors and interiors, the contract states that seats have to be vacuum cleaned every fortnight.

Aimed at increasing the patronage for low-floor buses, instructions have been given to drivers and conductors of the buses to stop at all bus stops in the city, said Antony V. X., the officer-in-charge of low-floor buses in Kochi. “They have been asked to stop on request at places where there are no stops, for boarding and alighting passengers in areas outside the city where public transport is less.”

Stern action is taken if commuters complain or write to us, he said. They can pass over such complaints over phone to the enquiry counter (2372033) at the KSRTC city stand or write to the RTC's MD at mdkeralartc@yahoo.com.