Delayed recovery and rising prices push KSRTC to seek energy efficiency
It’s a double whammy for the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) as it faces a shortage of commuters amid soaring diesel prices.
Despite the resumption of services for more than a week, the response from passengers has not been very encouraging and revenues are not increasing as expected, delaying large-scale operations. While the pandemic had hit KSRTC’s revenue hard, most of its current revenue went to fuel.
The KSRTC has slowly regained ground after the impact of last year’s lockdown. Prior to COVID-19, Mysuru Division’s revenue alone was 24 crore per month. The Mysuru KSRTC division alone lost almost 70 crore as buses had been off the road for a long time last year.
The KSRTC division in Mysuru is now asking its drivers to focus on fuel efficiency, teaching them the skills to save fuel in these difficult times. “Driver training to achieve fuel efficiency is not new, but we are putting more emphasis on it and subjecting more drivers to training amid rising fuel prices,” the division controller said ( rural) of KSRTC, KH Srinivas.
He said the Mysuru division was only performing 50% of its services. “About 80% of the income we earn since the foreclosure restrictions were relaxed went to fuel because of the price hike. Our usual daily income was 85 lakh, but it fell below ₹ 40 lakh due to the shortage of commuters, ”he explained.
“The division operated 285 buses, including 70 to 80 buses to Bangalore. Until the answer is right, we cannot start full operations, especially when diesel prices continue to rise. The price has risen by almost 14 since the lockdown was announced about two and a half months ago, ”he said.
The response to AC buses was very poor and as a result there were fewer buses running to destinations, mainly to Bangalore.
The resource persons at the KSRTC Technical and Driving Training Center in Malavalli typically train drivers on various technical aspects, including fuel efficiency, in addition to experts from the Association for the Conservation and Research of Petroleum (PCRA) from the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
Nagaraj, divisional controller, Mysuru urban, KSRTC, said trainers at these centers regularly hold sessions in depots or institutes. Today, such training has grown in importance.
Intra-urban operations in Mysuru are also yet to return to normal. “Passenger traffic is good on Mondays but slows down the other days of the week. “About 75,000 commuters travel on Mondays. Depending on the traffic, we run around 280 buses on Monday and 200 on other days of the week, ”Nagaraj said.
The income of the urban division on normal days was 30 lakh. Drivers had to wait for the buses to fill up to 50 percent to operate. Some services were run based on the number of passengers and the frequency of buses was delayed due to the shortage of commuters.