KOCHI: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is all set to resume short-distance service from Wednesday, as the government has permitted intra district service as part of lockdown 4 relaxations. State transport minister A.K Saseendran stated that maximum number of buses will ply during the peak hours and instruction has been given to finalise the routes and schedules in each depot.
The government has temporarily increased the ticket rate by 50 per cent and the minimum fare has been increased from Rs. 8 to Rs. 12. Face masks and sanitizers have been distributed to all RTC units and use of face mask is compulsory for the bus workers and passengers.
Buses are allowed to operate with not more than 25 passengers, which is 50 per cent of the capacity. Only single passenger will be allowed in double-seater and two passengers in three-seater and passengers have to strictly maintain social distancing and have to use sanitizer before boarding the bus.
According to the RTC authorities, despite the hike of 50 per cent in ticket price, the Corporation will suffer losses to the tune of Rs.42 lakhs per day as it will be operating with just 50 per cent its capacity.
Meanwhile, operators of private buses, which dominate public transport sector in the state, are yet to take a final decision on resuming service. According to the operators’ association, ticket price hike and exemption of tax alone can’t resolve the crisis.
“Bus service has been suspended as part of national lockdown and the private bus operators have not given notice for strike. Hence, there is no need for any negotiations with them. The government has given maximum discounts for them. Now, it is up to them to decide whether to resume service or not,” added the transport minister....