A KSRTC Nightmare – by Dr Arif Hussain

A travelogue of a Short Journey – to show how and why KSRTC is crumbling down.

A KSRTC NIGHTMARE – Dr Arif Hussain T M, Calicut

Last day i have to travel to Kochi from Calicut. I reached the Calicut Bus statioin – now working temporarily in a TIN SHEET SHED. The time was 10.45pm in the night.

I looked for buses to Ernakulam. There was two SUPERFAST buses to Trivandrum Stationed. Even though there was vacant seats, I chose not to board it. The reason was, KSRTC doesnt know how to operate night service buses.

We will have to spend whole night in the upright position and with full bright lights turned on. Many times i had words with the conductor on this matter – with no response from them. So no other reasons needed why there are many private night services with packed seats running the same route.

I decided to depend Indian railways – and luckily i got a berth in an Ernakulam bound long distance train. The journey until i reached Ernkulam Junction was hassle free. The real part of the story is yet to come.

After reaching Ernakulam, I had to travel a short distance more in the Poothotta direction. I started waiting for a bus. it was 5.10 am in the morning. I almost stood there for till 5.45am to sight the first KSRTC bus in that direction. I was in joy, that didn’t last long.

The name board was not visible in that low morning light. The bulb on one side was dead. But somehow i figured out the destination written there. Yes it was PALA written there.

It was an LS – the Blue colored one, plying to PALA. But as I have no more energy to stand there and as the rain was getting heavy, i decided to board it. The stop I have to alight was an ordinary one. I Just asked the conductor – whether it will stop at my destination. He said a BIG NO. But I stayed onboard and reached the driver and asked him the same question, for which he said, a YES….!

I could do this in fraction of seconds as the bus was almost empty….!!

The conductor came for tickets – and I said my destination, which was a Rs13 Point. The conductor, in the shock of spotting me again – said “This is LIMITED STOP”.

I politely replied him – ” Do you know what time it is..? It is just 5.45am. I have been waiting here for more than half an hour to JUST SEE a bus in this direction and this is the first one. I think You too know that. Then how come you feel like saying THIS IS LIMITED STOP? Don’t you feel Shame on that..? Whom are you operating this bus for? If the time was past some 9 O’clock, i wouldn’t have board this – because I know the next Ordinary will be there in 5 minutes. But this is Too early. You should get some training on that too. Now give me the ticket.”

He went silent and the driver too nodded him, and luckily i was able to reach home in time.

The conductor was a young man, probably a new entrant in service, who was very meticulous in carrying out his duty, but he didn’t know how to SERVE the People.

My urge to the KSRTC in this wake is, please get out from the offices you are living in and travel in these buses often to see how you are operating your services. IT IS IN A VERY BAD SHAPE.

You should think of running good buses in long distance night journey. If there are standing passengers in these so called superfasts, why cant you arrange buses to accommodate their seats too? You can take advantage of season rush to tackle the crisis you are facing. When are you going to learn all these.

Make the buses comfortable for night travels – atleast a push back seat and night lamps. It is difficult to nap with the lights on and that leads to serious health risks like shooting up the Blood pressure.

Please train the newly appointing staff to work in coordination with each other and with the passengers – KSRTC is for the passengers and not for the conductor and driver to shuttle to and fro. Train them to act according to time and situations.

Try to schedule services synchronizing with other transport modes – in cities like Ernakulam where there are more than 5 trains arriving around 4 am to 6am.

Unless these are laid to repair, KSRTC will always remain as a NIGHTMARE to the depending passengers.

Let us work and pray to save KSRTC.