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First day’s bus operation puts Kerala in Rs 59 lakh loss

IANS

Thiruvananthapuram

The loss making Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) that operated for the first time on Wednesday, ended up in the red to the tune of Rs 59 lakh, officials said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, around 1300 buses operated on their schedules and they clocked over two lakh kilometres.

According to the guidelines, the state government has cleared for the operation of only intra district services, which is available between 7 am to 11 am and then again from 4 pm to 7 pm.

At all the depots police kept a strong vigil and ensured all maintained social distancing and used masks.

Conductors kept a bottle of sanitizers also and every passenger was asked to use it. The strict guidelines include a maximum number of passengers of 24 to 28 depending on the seating capacity of a bus, and no standing passengers are allowed.

According to the KSRTC, the total income generated for the day was Rs 35 lakh and after taking into account, salaries, fuel, insurance and cost of sanitizers, the cost per km of operation to break even was around Rs 45, but at the end of the day due to the limitations in passengers all what it could earn was Rs 16 per km, plunging the perennial loss making public utility to end up in the red of Rs 59 lakh.

The KSRTC has been operating special services since May 11 for employees of the State Secretariat from the city depots in the capital district. The fares have been increased by 50 per cent and this is applicable to all including those having concessions.

However, the private sector has opposed the 50 per cent increase in the fare and on Thursday in certain districts, they resumed operations on a small scale.

At Kozhikode, some buses that operated their service on Wednesday, the glass wind shields of a few buses were found broken on Thursday.

“Today morning when we came, we saw the windshields were broken. We have given a complaint to the police,” said the owner of a bus which suffered the damage.

“We are trying to find out by starting today. According to rules not more than 20 passengers are allowed. Do not know what is going to happen,” said a private bus conductor at Kochi.

Meanwhile, KSRTC officials are continuing its operations on Thursday and a final call on what needs to be done would be taken by authorities in the coming days.

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