The first lot of the 10 multi-axle buses being wet-leased by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will be operated from major depots in the State to Mangaluru, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Coimbatore, and Chennai before Onam.
Euro 4-compliant luxury buses of Swedish automobile giant Scania will be deployed for the services. It has been decided to introduce the services from September 1 to take on the inter-State private operators who charge exorbitant rates from non-resident Keralites coming home for Bakrid and Onam.
The KSRTC director board has given approval for the wet lease of 25 Scania buses. In case of accident or snag, a spare bus will be made available to the transport utility within 24 hours.
Along with the bus, the automobile firm will provide the driver and take care of the maintenance. The KSRTC will have to deploy the conductor and provide high-speed diesel.
“The formalities to sign the wet-lease agreement are on and efforts are on to roll out the service before Onam,” Chairman and Managing Director, KSRTC, M. G. Rajamanickam told The Hindu .
The KSRTC will pay a rent of Rs. 30.24 per km for 600 to 649 km that the buses will ply, Rs. 27.72 per km for 650 to 699 km, Rs. 26.60 per km for 700 to 749 km, Rs. 24.95 per km for 750 to 799 km and Rs. 23.82 per km for 800 km and above.
The wet lease is part of the cash-strapped KSRTC’s plans to bring down the employee-bus ratio from 8.5 to the national average of 5.5, to dispense with separate categories of drivers and conductors and to increase daily collection from the 6,300-odd fleet from existing Rs. 5.47crore to Rs. 8 crore.
The remaining 15 wet-leased buses that will joint the fleet later will also operate on the inter-State sector. The buses will run under the brand Garuda Maharaja.