The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has decided to convert old buses into sleeper coaches for tourism. In all 6,500 sleeper berths are likely to be made available in the near future by transforming buses nearing expiry.
As of now, there are only 200 beds in buses stationed in Munnar and Sulthan Bathery depots of the KSRTC.
The sleeper coaches will be used for KSRTC’s budget tourism programme which was launched in 2020 in association with the Kerala Tourism Department.
The sleeper bus project, which was successfully implemented in Munnar and Bathery, is to be expanded to all major tourist destinations in the State.
The scope for sleeper buses in Chalakkudy, Kalpetta, Mananthavady, and Nilambur units will be studied.
Initially, two deluxe buses were converted to sleeper coaches with 16 berths and they were put to use in Munnar first and later at Sulthan Bathery.
Financially feasible too
Currently, scrapping one bus would fetch Rs 75,000 up to Rs 1.50 lakh. It is possible to break even within 6 months if such buses are converted into sleeper coaches by investing Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh, the KSRTC estimates.
The sleeper coach buses are intended for overnight stay for tourists at reasonable rates. They are stationed at the KSRTC depots. As there would not be any fuel or other major expenses, the revenue generated would also be higher; hence the plan to introduce more sleeper coaches.
Toilets and bathroom facilities are arranged at the depot itself. Supervision and operation of the sleeper buses would be the responsibility of the respective depots. The revenue generated would also reflect on the depot’s accounts.
The cost to convert the buses into sleepers would be covered at the state level.
Hotel chain on the anvil
As part of the KSRTC’s budget tourism project a state-wide network of hotels will be created. Hotels that are ready to associate with the KSRTC will be identified. Hotels offering food and accommodation are specially considered. This project would be beneficial for regular travellers also, besides tourists.
Cruise Line too
A ‘KSRTC Cruise Line’ is to be formed by including the houseboats willing to join hands with the Corporation, thereby exploiting possibilities of water transport. A trial under this programme is implemented at Kumarakom in Kottayam district.
Over 2,600 trips so far
Until last month, as many as 1.20 lakh travellers have made use of the budget programme by making over 2,600 trips. The two-year-old project has been a success even though the revenue was Rs 8.5 crore despite a Rs 10 crore target.