Kochi: The controversy surrounding the bashing up of passengers by the crew of a private luxury bus has resulted in heavy patronage of the KSRTC inter-state services.
The staff rose to the occasion and two driver-cum-conductors of Ernakulam-Bangalore multi-axle Volvo service volunteered to drive for over 24 hours continuously to avoid cancellation of a schedule and save the day for nearly 50 travellers.
The KSRTC buses are fully booked, especially on weekends, these days. However, one of its multi-axle buses proceeding to Bangalore broke down at Krishnagiri upsetting the plans of the authorities.
The bus was taken to the Bangalore repairing centre of Volvo by the mechanics at Krishnagiri. However, due to lack of availability of spare-parts, they could not hand it over to the KSRTC authorities at the promised time.
"This bus was scheduled to be deployed for the Ernakulam-Bangalore service starting from Ernakulam at 7 p.m. on Monday. As usual, the bus was fully booked. As the Volvo authorities could not repair it on time, the cancellation of the fully-booked service was on cards then," said V.M. Tajudheen, Ernakulam district transport officer.
The authorities didn't want to disappoint the 50-odd passengers and the only way before them was to call back the other pair bus (RS 789) which was deployed to Bangalore the previous night. The depot officials discussed the matter with the crew.
The crew is allotted a minimum eight hours' rest before being deployed again. However, the driver-cum-conductors of Ernakulam unit - V.R. Baiju and Antony Rensil Rocha-- volunteered to work without the break.
"When we came to know of the situation, we volunteered to drive back soon after reaching Bangalore. We left Ernakulam at 7 p.m. on Sunday night to reach Bangalore at 7.30 a.m. on Monday. After half-an-hour rest, we drove back to reach Ernakulam at 6 p.m. (Monday). The technicians inspected the bus and it left almost on right time with the passengers. We're determined not to cancel the service especially when commuters have put a lot of faith in us," said Baiju.
In the meantime, the company delivered the other bus on Monday evening and the trips were operated."Hats off to the depot authorities and the crew for toiling hard in avoiding the service cancellation. Otherwise, we would have been stranded," wrote Yadu Krishnan, a passenger, who boarded the bus on Monday night, in his Facebook account....