The High Court’s order is application in KSRTC’s high-speed buses including superfast and express.

No passenger should travel standing in long-distance buses Kerala HC to KSRTC
news Court Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 19:21

In an order that is expected to have widespread consequences in the state, the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed state-run KSRTC to ensure that no passenger travel standing in long-distance buses.

Saying that the passengers had the right to have seats in the bus, the HC bench has ordered KSRTC to ensure that all the passengers get the facility to sit. The order is applicable in KSRTC's high-speed bus services including superfast and express. The court observed that passengers cannot be left standing after paying high prices for their tickets.

According to reports, the division bench said that the KSRTC should let passengers board the bus, only as per seat availability. The HC was hearing a petition filed by a consumer group based in Pala called the Centre for Consumer Education. The group had moved the court, seeking that Motor Vehicles rules be strictly followed. Although the plea also sought to freeze the fare price hike, the court reportedly did not take up the matter.

Reports say that KSRTC had argued that the passengers who travel standing, usually travel for short distances. According to a report published by Manorama Online, KSRTC operates 141 super deluxe buses, 52 express buses, 27 scania buses and 12 garuda buses.

Speaking to the publication, KC Chacko, chairman of Centre for Consumer Education pointed out that while the prices of bus services are hiked often, that does not translate into providing better facilities for the passengers.

Can KSRTC afford to lose passengers?

With this new HC ruling, KSRTC bus services are required to ensure that all the passengers are provided seats. This means that the number of passengers who will be allowed to travel (at a time) will come down. Reduced number of passengers also mean that the KSRTC will make less revenue.

However, considering that KSRTC is already neck-deep in liabilities, the government service cannot afford to lose passengers, and thereby, its revenue. Pending salary and pension payments and loan liabilities are also growing day by day.

KSRTC operates 5,784 services a day on an average.  There are 36,000-odd employees and 38,000 retirees under the Corporation. The daily revenue from the operations is around Rs 170 crore. The KSRTC has to operate certain services that are not viable because of its social commitments, which adds to the burden.

Read the story in detail: Who will rescue the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation from mounting liabilities?

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