Navakerala bus: High ticket fare, inconvenient schedule keep passengers away

The bus is often late as it gets caught up in traffic. Photo: Manorama

Bengaluru: Kerala RTC’s Garuda Premium bus (Navakerala Bus) that operates service in the Bengaluru – Kozhikode route has been running with vacant seats as passengers are reluctant to book tickets in it. High ticket fares and inconvenient schedules are the major reasons for passengers to stay away from the much–celebrated bus. The service was flagged off on May 5 and the tickets were sold out for the first few days. However, after that, the bus began running with empty seats. The 26–seater bus requires Rs 35,000 as fuel charges alone for both sides. It could collect only up to Rs 65,000 even if all the seats are booked to Bengaluru and back.

Inconvenient timetable
The bus that departs from Kozhikode at 4 am is supposed to reach Bengaluru by 11.30 am. Meanwhile, the return trip begins at 2.30 pm and reaches Kozhikode at 10 pm. However, the bus often reaches late at Bengaluru and Kozhikode late as it gets stuck in heavy traffic. Besides, those who come from afar should leave their homes at wee hours to catch the bus at 4 am. Moreover, the bus reaches Kozhikode late at night making it difficult for most passengers to find transportation from there. More people would benefit if the bus leaves at 6 am. As it is a single-service bus, there are technical difficulties in scheduling its return trip from Bengaluru at night.

Demand for stage fare
Passengers demand that the ticket price should be converted into stage fare instead of Garuda Premium’s end-to-end ticket. Currently, the ticket from Bengaluru to Kozhikode costs Rs 1171 per head. However, it would go up to Rs 1256 including GST. Stage fare is determined based on the distance. But, in end-to-end fare, passengers who board the bus from various stops like Mysuru, Bathery, Kalpetta and Thamarassery should pay the whole amount. If the ticket fares are converted into stage fares, then it may be possible to attract more passengers from places like Mysuru.

More luxury busses to Kerala
Meanwhile, the Karnataka RTC is all set to reschedule the services to Kerala as soon as they receive 40 brand-new multi-axel AC busses. New multi-axel busses would replace the current Iravat multi-axel busses. The new sleeper AC busses would begin service in the Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod routes instead of the seater busses. Currently, their multi-axel sleeper service ‘Ambari Utsav’ runs in Thrissur – Ernakulam routes. Meanwhile, the non–AC sleeper service ‘Palakki’ operates in the Thrissur route. 

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