Thiruvananthapuram: The KSRTC has started evaluating the Swedish major’s Scania buses to make its luxury services more cost-effective. If an ongoing road evaluation test goes in its favour, Scania will be allowed to contend in bids against its cousin Volvo which presently holds the monopoly in the luxury segment of the state transport.
“The government has allotted Rs 19.5 crore for the purchase of buses this year. Scania has given us a bus for two months’ road test. We hope to strike a better deal with multi-axle buses through competitive bidding. Mercedes Benz, another contender in multi-axle buses, has not approached us until now,” said KSRTC Managing Director Anthony Thomas.
Scania buses, which claims better fuel efficiency, safety standards and longer service intervals, are in service with Karnataka and Maharashtra state transport corporations.
“The road testing will evaluate its claims. It has bigger dimensions. Since over Rs 1,000 is charged for each passenger in luxury buses, each additional seat means increased revenue,” another KSRTC official said.
The low number of premium buses in its fleet often affects KSRTC’s ability to avail of alternatives when its coaches develop technical issues.
Presently the KSRTC has just 10 multi-axle Volvo buses which operate on the Bangalore route. It is planning to start premium services to Chennai, Hyderabad, Panaji, Pondicherry and Puttaparthi, Mr Thomas said.
The transport body is all set to revive the intra-state Lightning Express buses which were the fastest category of buses when they were discontinued in 1995.
Around five non-AC buses with pushback seats are ready at works depot, Pappanamcode. Once the new set of 130 more chassis arrives, the future Lightning Express will flaunt air suspensions also, officials said.