Saturday, December 27, 2008

It was the year of the Volvo Report card

It was the year of the Volvo Report card

Anil Kumar Sastry

BIAS services provided an affordable trip to the new airport

KSRTC began its services to Kasaragod on Friday

NEKRTC, NWKRTC expand their fleet

BANGALORE: If one were to name any one high-profile launch by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) this year, it would be the Bengaluru International Airport Special (BIAS) services with the cushy Volvo buses.

As for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation, they did their value addition expanding their fleet with modern buses.

Conceived by the then Managing Director Upendra Tripathy, the BIAS services did not disappoint air passengers, and provided an affordable trip to the new airport located far away from the city. Though this service is yet to break even, it has, to some extent, managed to keep at least some airport-bound private vehicles off Bellary Road.

Also, special late evening services from High Court and introduction of Volvo services on short-distance city routes were some other initiatives of BMTC during the year. While the year was winding up, a BMTC bus driver killing the driver of a private bus under his wheels on the eve of Christmas, became a matter of shock for BMTC and people alike.
The one-rupee ride

Transport Minister R. Ashok’s scheme of Re 1. ride on BMTC’s Volvo services for four days attracted bouquets and brickbats. Aimed at introducing the posh buses to the masses, the exercise which attracted thousands of people, however, failed to convert the visitors to regular users of Volvo.

Both KSRTC and BMTC got new managing directors after A.P. Joshi and Upendra Tripathy were made Principal Secretaries – rural development and transport – respectively in mid-2008. Gaurav Gupta and Syed Zameer Pasha occupied the drivers’ seats of the respective corporations. While KSRTC commissioned a new depot in Magadi, work on inter-modal transit centres at Mysore and but station at Shimoga commenced. BMTC inducted 50 Volvo buses and deployed them on new routes.

KSRTC’s decision to take on private operators in Dakshina Kannada district by introducing Mangalore city services and services between Mangalore and Kasaragod met with stiff opposition. While the corporation began the Kasaragod service on Friday, it is going ahead with Mangalore city services by March next. This has come as a welcome respite to people who hitherto had been at the mercy of private operators. KSRTC has even decided to operate regular buses to Udupi and Manipal from Mangalore.

However, KSRTC’s plan to build satellite bus terminals at the entry points of city to decongest roads within Bangalore is yet to materialise. The progress has been very slow and satellite terminals may not materialise within a couple of years.


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