A long-time desire of Aswathi Tirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore to travel on a public transport bus was fulfilled on Friday with the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) plying a special double-decker bus from East Fort to Kowdiar to commemorate the introduction of the public transport system in the State by Sree Chithira Tirunal, the then ruler of Travancore, 77 years ago.
“It was my long-term wish to travel in the city on a public transport bus and that too on a double-decker one. Today, it was fulfilled,” she said before boarding the bus from East Fort, as a special invitee. The decked-up double-decker bus started its journey from East Fort to Kowdiar Palace around 11.30 a.m. carrying Aswathi Tirunal, top officials of the KSRTC, mediapersons and the public. The bus returned to East Fort via Thampanoor around noon.
Bus day fete
The trip was part of the bus day celebrations organised by the Kerala State Road Transport Employees Association, affiliated to the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, with the theme ‘healthy public transport for public health.’ In her short address, she reminded the public their responsibility to protect and promote the public transport system. Chairman and Managing Director of the KSRTC Antony Chacko flagged off the bus. He said the government and the employees had come together to promote the public transport system and make it popular among the public. The Corporation was confident of reviving the transport utility with the active support of its employees, he added.
Sree Chithira Tirunal launched the first public transport service in Travancore on February 20, 1938. He sought the services of E.G. Salter, assistant operating superintendent of the London Passenger Board, to run the bus with imported Comet chassis and Frank Perkins diesel engines. The inaugural journey of the bus was from Thampanoor to Kanyakumari. Sree Chithira Tirunal was among those who travelled on the bus to Kanyakumari.