In just about a decade, the number of private buses plying in the state has more than halved. From as high a number as 32,000 in 2005, it has drastically fallen to 14,000 by 2013. The quite cheap mode of transport is no longer viable, forcing several players to quit the field and operators have reasons galore for this.
Video – Mazhavil Manorama
The arraying of private buses under Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) companies has begun yielding rich dividends in the form of operational savings, prevention of revenue loss, and lessening of reckless driving on many routes.
Four LLPs have already been formed, while a few more are being awaited as Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has exhorted bus operators to constitute them. This is to ensure a win-win situation for the metro agency and bus operators.
“The introduction of common tickets among all buses under an LLP company has resulted in daily savings of up to ?2,000. This is mainly because the revenue loss due to conductors issuing counterfeit tickets or non-issuance of tickets to ‘friendly’ passengers has come to a stop.
LLP companies are also expected to procure spare parts, tyres etc., in bulk, which will result in savings. Buses under various LLP companies have also begun sporting the names above the windscreen,” metro sources said.
Private bus operators attributed the rise in income to Kudumbasree workers who they deputed as ticket checkers. “We have roped in six Kudumbasree workers, from among the 90 who were trained to become bus conductors, for the job.