After 25 years, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, the state-run bus service, will finally pay Rs 90 crore in salaries to its employees from its own earnings.
Until now, the bus service would pay salaries to its 31,000 staff and 3926 empanelled staff with financial assistance from the state ranging from Rs 20 to Rs 40 crores. It has also taken loans from financial institutions previously, to pay the salaries of its employees.
Kerala RTC chairman and Managing director Tomin J Thachankary said that it was possible as the service has made a record Rs 45.2 crores from services to Sabarimala alone in the Mandala-Makaravaliku season and with effective cost-cutting measures.
The Nilackal - Pamba service, where Kerala RTC is the sole mode of transportation, for those who want to climb the hill shrine fetched Rs 31.2 crore and the long distance services operating from other parts of the state to Pamba fetched Rs 14 crore.
In the case of cost optimising measures, Kerala RTC changed the double duty system to single duty, reducing the manpower daily by 646 personnel and saving nearly Rs 60 crores annually.
In allowances, it has been able to save Rs 30 crore annually. Kerala RTCâ€™s redeployment of bus conductors and drivers, who were doing other duties, back to service has resulted in a job-saving worth Rs 55 crore. The bus staff ratio has also been brought down from 9 to 6.78. The buses have been able to save â‚¹1.56 crore annually by limiting the use of horns, electricity, and water.
The e-buses which were introduced for the first time were making Rs 110 ever kilometre and Rs 57 profit for every km after all expenses including power, according to Tomin Thankachary.
Thachankary also said that in the coming days, the challenge would be to operate the 1,200 buses that have been unused, to bring back the 4,000 empanelled staff who were thrown out and operate the buses with cleanliness and punctuality.