KSRTC’s newfound Cumbum love; 2 more services to be launched on Wednesday

A M Ariff MP flagged off the Alappuzha-Cumbum service on Sunday morning in Alappuzha. Photo: Special Arrangement

Alappuzha: Three days after it launched two Fast Passenger services to Cumbum from the Alappuzha depot, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is all set to start another couple of new services to Tamil Nadu's border town from the Cherthala depot.
While the interstate permits were approved much earlier, some wonder whether operating four services daily, all of a sudden, would turn out to be profitable.

New services to be flagged off at Cherthala depot
Agriculture Minister P Prasad will flag off the new services to Cumbum at 1 pm on Thursday at the Cherthala depot. A M Ariff MP, the LDF candidate in the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency, will accompany him.

“Two Fast Passenger services on the interstate route Cherthala-Cumbum is being operated on a trial basis for 30 days as per the provisions of the Interstate Transport Agreement between Kerala and Tamil Nadu 2019,” the official order said.

The first daily service will leave Cherthala at 5.45 am via Arookutty, Vytilla (7 am), Aluva (7.30 am), Perumbavoor (7.55 am), Kothamangalam (8.45 am), Kattapana (noon), Kuzhithulu and Cumbummettu. On the return trip, it will start from Cumbum at 3 pm and proceed via Kattapana (4.10 pm), Kothamangalam (7.05 pm), Perumbavoor (8.10 pm), Aluva (8.35 am), Ernakulam (9.10 pm), and Thoppumpadi to reach Cherthala at 10.15 pm.

The second service will leave Cherthala daily at 1 pm and proceed via Bund Road, Kumarakom, Kottayam (2 pm), Mundakayam (3.40 pm), Kattapana (6 pm), Puliyanmala, Kuzhithulu and Cumbummettu to reach Cumbum at 7 pm. On the return trip, it will leave Cumbum at 4 am and operate via Kattapana (5 am), Mundakayam (6.50 am), Kottayam (8.20 am), and Kumarakom to reach Cherthala at 9.15 am.

On Sunday, two FP services to Cumbum and Theni (via Cumbum) were flagged off by Ariff MP. The Alappuzha-Cumbum FP will leave at 6 am daily via Tannermukkom, Kottayam, Ponkunnam, Kattapana, and Pulinyanmala. Similarly, the Alappuzha-Cumbum-Theni FP will depart at 1.30 pm via Ernakulam, Vytilla, Muvattupuzha, Thodupuzha, Kattapana, and CUmbum Mettu.

Viability worries
While the interstate permit was sanctioned way back, the sudden decision to deploy four services has surprised many. The collection on Tuesday for the Alappuzha -Cumbam morning trip was nearly Rs 14,000 and that of the Alappuzha-Cumbum-Theni was a dismal Rs 7,000.

“It’s too early to arrive at a conclusion. The chief office must have done a feasibility study and the collections will pick up as people come to know about the service. We’re mainly eyeing visitors to hilly regions and also a substantial number of farmers,” said a senior officer.

Meanwhile, sources said the initiation for the services has come from Ariff, with the Left camp hoping that the same would pitch them well in the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

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