The Kerala State Transport Corporation will have to think out-of-the-box if it needs to outsmart its Karnataka counterpart and gain back the trust and loyalty enjoyed by it once.

Customers now prefer Karnataka buses because of the state-of-the-art tech and comfort offered by the services they run.

Officials said Karnataka managed to gain a foot-hold in the Kerala market because it deployed tactics that go with the time. They have a variety of services in money-spinning routes and reasonable fare structures.

“What lures commuters to us is our passenger-friendliness and the low fares. In total we  operate 35 services in the Bangalore, Mysore and Mangalore routes. Of these the Kochi-Bangalore route is the money spinner,” said Prasanth G K, Karnataka’s officer-in-charge for Kerala.

Karnataka has kept the ticket fare for non- AC buses at Rs 640. For AC buses the fare ranges between Rs 1,016 and Rs 1,100. The AC sleeper fare is Rs 1,150. The Kerala RTC runs only three ‘deluxe’ buses from Ernakulam to Bangalore with a fare higher than that of Karnataka – Rs 1,290.   Kerala SRTC Chairman and Managing Director Antony Chacko said comparing Kerala with Karnataka does not make sense as market-wise “Kerala is just one-third of Karnataka”. But critics points out that what matters in the market is not size but strategies.

One of the ideas being actively considered by Kerala SRTC is the concept of flexi-charge, which would offer different rates during the peak season and the off-season.

“The demand for reintroduction of flexi-charge along the interstate routes, mooted by the KSRTC, has been accepted in principle by the government. An Government Order in this regard will soon be issued,” said Minister for Transport Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

Karnataka already has provision for flexi-charge.

The Minister said the government has plans to introduce more luxury buses in inter-state routes. “We have introduced a Scania service. Based on the profit generation, we will take a call on providing luxurious buses in inter-state routes,” said Thiruvanchoor.

News: New Indian Express