KSRTC Volvo buses yet to hit the streets post lockdown relaxation
COVID-19, News

KSRTC Volvo buses yet to hit the streets post lockdown relaxation

August 23, 2020

Mysore/Mysuru: Three months after the State-run KSRTC resumed operation of buses following relaxation in COVID-19 enforced nationwide lockdown, Volvo Air-Conditioned (AC) Luxury buses of Mysuru Rural Division are yet to hit the streets due to poor commuter patronisation.

As there is a common assumption that the deadly Novel Coronavirus is airbone and an AC system facilitates rapid spread of the virus, many people are scared to travel in Volvo AC buses. Till Mar. 22, a day before the nationwide lockdown was enforced, the Mysuru City Division operated 36 Volvo  AC buses, with each of them making at least five trips a day. Most of the Volvo buses operated to destinations such as Hebbal where many IT majors such as Infosys, Wipro and L&T are located, Chamundi Hill and Mysore Airport in Mandakalli.

Much of the revenue earnings of Volvo buses depended on IT employees who most often travelled by these buses. But now as a majority of the employees are asked to Work From Home (WFH) as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 pandemic, there a few takers for Volvo buses. Also, the number of passengers travelling in these buses to Chamundi Hill and Mysore Airport has dropped drastically and as such, the KSRTC authorities have completely withdrawn the services.

While this is the situation in case of City Division, the situation in the Mysuru Rural Division is far more worse as Volvo buses are yet to hit the streets. Before the KSRTC stopped operations in March, the Rural Division used to operate 70 Volvo AC buses every day, out of which 10 operated on Mysuru-Bengaluru route alone. Some of the other destinations were Murudeshwar, Belagavi, Mumbai, Mangaluru, Udupi, Gokarna, Chennai, Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thiruvananthapuram etc., However, due to the notion that travel in AC buses is riskier during COVID-19 times, passengers are reluctant to board these buses, thus forcing the KSRTC authorities not to resume Volvo AC bus service until the COVID-19 situation eases.

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Similarly, private bus service to long destinations too have been stopped owing to losses due to poor occupancy.

KSRTC suffers huge losses

Owing to poor occupancy triggered by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, both the KSRTC Divisions (City and Rural) of Mysuru have suffered huge losses over the past five months post lockdown.

The Mysuru City Division with its fleet of about 400 buses, had revenue earnings of Rs.35 lakh from the sale of tickets on an average every day prior to the suspension of services due to lockdown in March. But now, the revenue earnings have plummeted to just Rs.8 lakh, with the Division operating just half (200 buses) of its fleet strength due to poor passenger patronage. 

Mysuru City Divisional Controller Nagaraj said that poor occupancy is the major cause the Division’s huge losses. But recently, the occupancy has improved with the gradual easing of lockdown regulations and so does the revenue earnings, he said and added that the revenue collection may peak once things return to complete normalcy and  educational Institutions re-open.

Mysuru Rural Division Controller Ashok Kumar said that the Division is facing a grim situation due to mounting losses. Pointing out that the Division used to record earnings of Rs.75 lakh on an average every day prior to the lockdown, he said that due to the COVID-19 crisis, the revenue earnings has dipped to Rs. 22 lakh a day, which is just about 30 percent of the regular collection in normal days.

Noting that the Division is operating just half of its fleet strength, he said that only a few people are willing to travel during COVID-19 times. Occupancy has become a matter of great concern, Ashok  Kumar said and added that the KSRTC’s appeal to passengers for booking their tickets online for avoiding crowding at bus terminals too has not helped much, with passengers still scary of travelling.

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He further said that the Division has incurred an estimated loss of Rs.9 crore from March to third week of August.

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