The 50 low-floor AC buses of Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) attached to the Ernakulam depot are the worst revenue earners in the agency. The earnings per km (EPKM) of the intra-district buses is approximately Rs.40, while most inter-district buses earn up to Rs.70. Besides their getting caught in perennial traffic snarls on city roads, a court order restraining their operation to other districts is to blame for the situation.
While buses from other depots operate trips to other districts, those of Ernakulam depot operate mainly within the city. Dejo Kappen, managing trustee of the Centre for Consumer Education, had moved the High Court of Kerala contending that buses were allotted under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) for use within the city. The average EPKM of buses from depots across the State is around Rs.50. The amount must exceed Rs.50 to make the operations of buses feasible.
The KURTC is making efforts to vacate the stay on buses of the Ernakulam depot operating outside the district. The agency is unable to operate buses to Thrissur or Kozhikode despite whopping demand from commuters. Services operated from Malappuram depot to the Cochin International Airport have EPKM as high as Rs.70.
Confining a good share of these buses to congested city routes has also led to higher operational expenses due to increased wear and tear. Their fuel efficiency is low, and the vehicles devour over 110 litres of diesel while long-distance buses need less than 90 litres.
Optimising their operation
Mr. Kappen said KURTC’s AC and non-AC buses could be operated efficiently if trips were rescheduled and restructured. “The KURTC is unable to operate them in a feasible manner, despite the Centre bearing the capital cost. Private buses that operate through the same congested routes are raking in profit.” The KURTC’s low-floor premium buses were aimed at lessening the number of cars and two-wheelers on city roads and are not meant for operation to other districts, he added.
News Source : The Hindu