After the air-conditioned Multi Axle Scania Metrolink buses, now superfast and fast passenger buses of the state road transport corporation (KSRTC) are awaiting permits to begin operations. A total of six superfast buses and 21 fast passenger buses have been laying idle.

Built at the corporation’s central workshop at Pappanamcode here, the buses were issued fitness certificate in April. While all the superfast buses and 11 of the fast passenger buses have been parked at the workshop since March after registration, 10 fast passenger buses were shifted to KSRTC depot at Pappanamcode in April first week. Usually, new buses are parked at the central workshop until it starts operation, but due to space constraint the fast passenger buses are parked inside the depot.

Demanding to start operation of the buses, members of Kerala state transport employees union (KSTEU) has submitted a request to KSRTC general manager and transport minister on Tuesday. “KSRTC refuses to start operation even as passengers suffer due to unavailability of buses. The buses, laying futile, cost around Rs 7 lakh each. Instead of waiting for permits, the corporation can use these vehicles for trips that were cancelled due to unavailability of buses,” said union representatives.

When it comes to services in the district, only 1,024 out of the scheduled 1,540 trips are being operated. Also, of the 1,404 buses, only 1,025 buses are in service. From City, Peroorkada, Vikas Bhavan, Pappanamcode and Vellanad depots, around 260 of 522 schedules are being operated, while at the fifteen other depots in the district about 764 of the 1,018 schedules are in operation.

 With the rise in demand, the corporation had begun operation of the Scania Metrolink buses branded ‘Garuda Maharaja’ last month. KSRTC had replaced its superfast buses with Scania buses, which began inter-state operations including places like Coimbatore, Mysuru and Mangaluru. The buses have been plying in its usual routes as the permit for new routes are yet to be received from other states. Meanwhile, officials cited model code of conduct as reason for the delay in starting operation of the new buses.
“The routes for the buses are not yet decided. Also, permit cannot be obtained as the buses were built after the election notification was released. We have already replaced those buses with expired fitness certificates and these new ones will be operated with new permits,” said P M Sharaf Muhammed, executive director of operations, KSRTC.
News : Times of India