The recent introduction of high end Volvo buses by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to ferry pilgrims to Sabarimala in Kerala is proving to be a money spinner for the corporation.
Within two weeks after introducing single-axle Volvo service from Bengaluru, KSRTC has earned a revenue of Rs 8 lakh. Earlier it used to run Rajahamsa service on this route and pilgrims are now demanding that KSRTC should also introduce multi-axle Volvo Airavat Club Class on this route.
Due to the recent floods near the hill shrine in Kerala and the tense law and order situation in the wake of Supreme Court verdict, allowing women of all ages to enter the shrine, vehicular movement has been restricted near the shrine.
All vehicles have to terminate at the base camp in Nilakkal, nearly 23 kilometres from Pampa, where the shrine is located. After that they have to board Kerala State Road Transport buses or the electric vehicles provided by the Devaswom Board for their onward journey. Due to the tense law and order situation, pilgrims are reluctant to take their own private vehicles as they fear leaving them at Nilakkal is risky. Hence many are opting for public transport and the introduction of Volvo buses by KSRTC has been widely welcomed.
"We travelled in KSRTC Volvo bus and it was a very good experience as we did not have to bother about the parking at Nilakkal. The corporation should run more such buses. However, I feel they should take the Salem route, instead of the current Mysuru route and avoid the Wayanad Ghat section," said Gauthan C., a devotee from Bengaluru.
According to the Kerala transport authorities, construction of a temporary footbridge to cross Pampa river was under consideration. A KSRTC official told Deccan Chronicle, “The response from the public has been tremendous. We operate these buses on four days of a week and the earnings per kilometre (EPKm) is Rs 45.77. We have chosen to run these buses via Mysuru in order to cater to pilgrims from Mysuru and nearby regions. Because of the good response, we are planning to operate multi-axle Volvo buses from next week on a trial basis, because we are not sure how they will negotiate the sharp hair pin bends at Wayanad ghat section.”
KSRTC currently operates Volvo buses from Thursday to Sunday from Bengaluru and from Friday to Monday from Pampa. So far a total of 800 plus pilgrims have travelled in this bus from both sides....