This Sabarimala season, Kerala State Road Trans-port Corporation (KSRTC) is allowing pilgrim groups, especially those coming from neighbouring states, to hire buses when they reach railway stations.

The initiative, aimed at raking in some additional revenue, will be different to the operation of special services to Pampa from main railway stations like Ernakulam, Kottayam, Chengannur and Tiruvalla.

KSRTC Buses Lined-up @ Chengannur Railway Station For Sabarimala Special Services

“Pilgrims from states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka arrive in groups and hire private vehicles that often exploit them.

So, we thought of the idea and are in the process of holding discussions with railway officials and members of Ayyappa Seva Sangh. We’ll offer discounted rates if a group hires our bus,” said a top KSRTC official.

The scheme will first be implemented in Ernakulam Junction and on receiving a good response, will extend to other centres.

For this, flex boards indicating the rates will be set up and personnel who are fluent in different south Indian languages will be deployed at the various stations.

However, buses can be hired only for travel to one destination, say from Ernakulam to Erumely. “They will conduct return trips as normal schedules,” the official said.

The corporation is yet to fix bus hiring rates. “We’re delaying this as the government is about to hike ticket prices and the internal election is also around the corner (November 7).

However rates will be at par with 18-seat tempo travellers or similar vehicles,” the official said.

Source: Deccan Chronicle