Navakerala bus service begins with impediments: Youtubers, politicians and more as passengers

Navakerala KSRTC bus during its first service, at Gundalpet. Photo: Arun Varghese/Manorama Online

Kozhikode: The Navakerala bus in which the Chief Minister and the Ministers had toured Kerala during the Navakerala yatra began its first service for the public on Sunday. The Garuda Premium bus service from Kozhikode to Bengaluru departed by 4.30 am. However, the hydraulic door of the bus was ajar within a few minutes after the journey began. The bus had to be stopped at Karanthoor when cold air began rushing in through the opened door. Passengers too had helped to hold the door in place using the handles of their bags. The door was repaired at the Bathery depot before resuming the journey. It is known that the door had a complaint as the emergency exit switch was on. However, the passengers were asked to get down through the back door when the bus stopped at Gundelpet for the passengers to have food. Even though the door was repaired, the driver and the conductor were apprehensive about whether the door would get ajar again.

Delayed service
The bus was scheduled to depart from Kozhikode at 4 am. However, the journey began only at 4.30 am. Interestingly, the bus was welcomed with much fanfare at Thamaraserry. The online ticket booking portal was opened on April 30 and the tickets were sold out within two days. 25 passengers are travelling in the bus on its debut trip. P Jaifar and Shajimon are the reserve driver cum conductors in the bus. They are experienced drivers who have been driving multi-axel buses in the Kozhikode – Bengaluru route since 2013. Even though the bus would be operated on the Kozhikode – Bengaluru route, its journey to Kozhikode had become a proper Thiruvananthapuram – Kozhikode service. Nine passengers who had booked tickets had boarded the bus from Thampanoor bus terminal. Besides, the bus stopped at various places to pick up passengers. Meanwhile, the paint got scratched on the sides while parking the bus in the Kozhikode bus stand. The bus was then given a fresh coat of paint at the workshop in Nadakavu.

Who travelled on the bus?
Interestingly, in the first service of the bus, a KSU party worker got to experience the seat in which CM Pinarayi Vijayan sat during the Navakerala bus journey. However, the seat was converted into a push-back seat though it was a revolving chair for the CM. The bus also had a couple of other politicians, curious travellers and Youtubers as passengers. There were only two women out of the 25 passengers.

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