Trivandrum: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plans top convert all super class buses into air-conditioned (AC) air suspension buses within five years, a top official told KSRTC plans to rope in Mercedes Benz, Scannia and Man apart from Volvo, with which it already has a tie-up, for this project, the official, who did want to be identified, said.

When comparing with Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s AC buses which has a minimum fare of Rs.25, KSRTC’s AC Volvos cost you a meagre Rs.10.

That makes it obvious why the KSRTC is running at loss yet it provides a much better public service. A KSRTC official said the cost a changing a tyre itself would be nearly Rs 27,000. On an average, an AC Volvo collects Rs 9,000 to Rs 10,000 per day, while it needs to earn Rs 15,000 to hit a profit. It could be called on profit only if it earns around Rs.15000 per day.

KSRTC has 30 AC Volvo buses of which three are kept as spares. They connect Ernakulum (three buses), Kazhakuttam, Attingal, Varkala, Kovalam, Kadikavila, Neyyar Dam, Kilimanoor, and Venjaramoodu. The time of operation is between six in the morning to nine-thirty at night with a duration of at least 13 hours which is compulsory. The Volvos are also rented out for private parties for which Rs 12,000 is charged for four hours.

These Volvos belong to the premium class buses. Being imported from Sweden, they keep up with international standards. The cost of each buses are around one crore. The officials of the corporation maintain that despite the regular running costs it functions efficiently.

The new buses comply with all environmental norms with four of them certified with BS04 and 26 with BS03. They are provided with air suspension with tilting facility so that the passengers won’t feel any kind of shakes inside the bus. The most recent ones have multi-axle with ten tyres and have a seating capacity of 60. Provided with pneumatic doors, music system, and mobile charging facility, these buses are a class apart. They are very powerful with a 280bhp engine, while other ordinary buses are having only a maximum of 150bhp. It gives you a mileage of 2.25 Km per litre in the cities.