The resumption of full-fledged operations after nine months has come as a silver-lining for the cash-strapped Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC).
Offices and commercial establishments back to normal functioning, partial reopening of educational institutions, and the lifting of curbs as part of the ‘Unlock’ measures are expected to further increase patronage and revenue.
Needs of customers
Though the KSRTC announced full-fledged operations, the management is operating schedules based on the needs of commuters. On January 4, it was able to operate 3,034 buses for 9,72,634 km and the revenue from the fleet was ₹3, 89,770,42.
The revenue that was hovering below ₹3 crore last month had for the first time crossed ₹3 crore, an official said.
Among the three zones, the South Zone based in Thiruvananthapuram operated 1,128 buses, followed by 1,091 in the Central Zone based in Ernakulam, and 815 by the Kozhikode-headquartered North Zone. On January 4, the earnings per bus (EPB) was ₹12,829 and earning per km ₹40.07.
The KSRTC operated 2,877 schedules on December 18, when full-fledged operations suspended since March 25 following the lockdown resumed.
Fast-passenger services continue to be restricted to two districts and super-fast services to four districts. The KSRTC was operating 5,218 schedules before the lockdown days and the plan is to operate 4,791 schedules daily in a phased manner.
The KSRTC has slashed ordinary fare by ₹2 to win over commuters. Those commuting on ordinary buses up to 47.5 km and paying ticket fares up to ₹49 need not have to pay the cess and this has resulted in the bus fare going down by ₹1 to 2. The Buses on Demand (BonD) non-stop service for office-goers has also come to the rescue of the KSRTC.
But, the escalating price of diesel is a challenge. The price of diesel that was ₹70 a litre before the lockdown has crossed ₹80 now.