All this while, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has been far ahead on the curve in the competition with its counterpart from Kerala. But now, the Kerala State RTC has waken up, realising the need to have more services and other customer-friendly plans to woo the passengers back.
As a first step, the Kerala State RTC will start 172 new services to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu – 88 buses to TN and 84 to Karnataka. While, a deal has already been inked with Karnataka on May 18, the agreement with Tamil Nadu will soon be signed. As per the agreement with Karnataka, 84 buses will cover 12,300 km through 17 routes. The ban on night-time traffic in Bandipur reserved forest area has been the most vexed issue.
Both Kerala and Karnataka have sat together to find an alternative. From now on, night buses to places like Mysore, Nanjangund, Sultan Bathery and Kalpetta may be operated via Mysore, Hunsur, Gonikoppa, Ponnampett, Kutta, Mananthavady and Kalpetta. Similarly the services operated via Mysore, Nanjangund, Gundulpet, Bandipur, Karnataka-TN state border, Gudalur, Kerala State border, Perinthalmanna and Thrissur may be operated via Mysore, Hunsur, Gonikoppa, Ponnampet, Kutta, Mananthavady, Kalpetta, Kozhikode and Thrissur.
There have always been complaints about Kerala State RTC ignoring the needs of passengers from Malabar region. Now, they have something to write home about. The Kerala State RTC has placed on anvil a plan to start seven new luxury services to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Puttaparthi, Goa and Mumbai via Goa. If everything goes according to the plan, five of those seven buses will start from Kozhikode.
The other two planned services are from Ernakulam to Puducherry and Chennai. Karnataka State RTC too is aware of Kerala’s latent efforts to catch up with it. They are banking on the variety of their services to maintain the supremacy.
“We offer a variety of buses to our trips to Kerala -from the super luxury Airavata Diamond Class to the economy class Rajahamsa. “We also shuffle the drivers often to ensure that they don’t get fatigued. I don’t think any other state service does that. If you look at the Airavata buses, we offer blankets, water bottles (a standard feature across our range) to passengers, and now we may add some more features like newspaper, magazines, free wifi, charging points for mobile and laptop etc. Also, the brand visibility of Karnataka State RTC is much better than our counterpart from Kerala. Even our website www.ksrtc.in gets more hits and booking references,” says Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation Managing Director Rajender Kataria. At this point, the Karnataka State RTC is ahead in the number game too.
“Karnataka State RTC has the largest fleet of buses for inter-state services in South India. The inter-state travelers often prefer overnight journey and we are well-equipped to meet the demand because of our large and diverse fleet. Just to give you an example, we run nine night buses starting from 5 pm on Bengaluru-Kochi route via both Mysuru and Palakkad, which is higher than our nearest rival. Similarly, we have eight daily evening services to North Kerala, which is very close to our nearest rival and hopefully we can soon improve on it. We have the edge,” he adds. Indeed, the Karnataka State RTC has the edge now. Don’t chortle yourself over the thought, but the tortoise may just catch up with the hare? Highlight: The Kerala State RTC has placed on anvil a plan to start seven news luxury services to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Puttaparthi, Goa and Mumbai via Goa. If everything goes according to the plan, five of those seven buses will start from Kozhikode. The other two are planned from Ernakulam to Puducherry and Chennai.
News: New Indian Express