A transport terminal sans buses, passengers

More than a month after it was inaugurated with much fanfare on Christmas eve, the Rs. 3.25-crore bus terminal in Kalamassery municipality near the Medical College Hospital remains a mere scarecrow with even the existing bus services skipping the facility.

The bus terminal was supposed to address the shortage of public transport through the area and bring relief to the people visiting the Medical College Hospital and the Cancer Centre along side it.

V.S. Aboobacker, division councillor, expressed the hope that things may improve in another month. “The median along the white-topped PWD road in front of the bus terminal will have to be removed to ensure easy access for buses to it,” he said.

The station master’s office also remains to be readied without which KSRTC buses will not be able to use the facility. A new bunk shop is also about to be constructed while two existing shop rooms on the back of the terminal remain to be tendered.

A meeting attended by the local MLA, V.K. Ebrahim Kunju, the District Collector, and the Regional Transport Officer, was held recently to discuss ways to stir the terminal into life. “The existing services will start using the terminal once the Regional Transport Authority formally recognises it whereas the KSRTC had agreed to deploy new services once the Sabarimala pilgrimage season is over,” said Kalamassery Municipal Chairperson Jessy Peter.

Meeting of bus operators

She also plans to convene a meeting of private bus operators to ramp up public transport services through the area, which is now woefully short. The Collector has agreed to favourably consider permit applications for new services placed before the RTA, Ms. Peter said. But that seems easier said than done since the private bus operators seem far from enthusiastic. “Even the existing operators are thinking of terminating the services for want of collections and the cost involved. I don’t see anyone coming forward to apply for fresh permits in the prevailing circumstances, as at best, there is demand only during morning and evening peak hours,” said M.B. Satyan, president, Kerala Private Bus Operators’ Federation.

Even the KSRTC is unlikely to deploy new services any time soon, citing the non-addition of new buses to the fleet. At present, two KSRTC services each from Paravur and Perumbavoor and three services from Aluva operate through the area. “Any decision over the addition of Thiru-Kochi services will be taken only after considering the feasibility,” a senior KSRTC official said.