With the authorities placing curbs on the use of diesel on account of the steep rise in its price, the schedules operated by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) have been affected.
According to employees at the Kottayam depot, while there was no formal demand for cancellation of services, the KSRTC authorities have already restricted the share of diesel to the depot.
“The depot on an average needs 14,000 litres of diesel per day. This includes the quota for buses from Kottayam, Mallappally and Thiruvalla depots,” they said. However, as per the new directive, there will be a reduction in quota from 14,000 litres by 2,000 litres per day. In addition, diesel will be made available only for six days a week.
“This will force us to cancel nearly 15 schedules per day,” said a KSRTC source who informed that already five schedules have been cancelled.
Presently, Kottayam depot has 110 buses and operates 100 schedules effectively, though it has 109 schedules on paper.
Low profit services
The KSRTC authorities have also set the criteria for cancellation of services. “Those services with the lowest Earning Per Kilo Meter (EPKM) will face the axe first,” the source said.
A majority of them will be rural services, taken up by the Corporation, mostly taken up under political pressure in routes which were abandoned by private players.
The average EPKM for Kottayam depot is Rs. 32, slightly more than the Corporation average of Rs. 30.73.
At Rs.11,200 per bus, the average Earning Per Bus (EPB) is also higher than the State average which stands at Rs. 9,989, it is pointed out.
KSRTC sources said that in spite of the constraints, two routes, though dominated by private operators, will not be affected: the Kottayam-Kumily Route and Kottayam-Ernakulam route, since these were the services making the most profits. The earning per bus goes up to Rs. 28,000 per day in some of the schedules, they pointed out.
The district has three other depots — Pala, and Changanassery and a sub depot at Vaikom.
The cancellation in Pala depot will affect the bus services to the interiors on the Kottayam-Idukki border while that from Changanassery will affect the services to interior Kuttanad.
In fact, nearly 22 services from Erattupetta Station had to be cancelled on account of lack of availability of diesel. In addition, buses coming back after Pamba service were held up at Ponkunnam for lack of diesel.
Source: The Hindu