The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will go ahead with forming KSRTC-SWIFT, a legally independent company, for operating long-distance buses despite opposition from trade unions and apprehensions raised by employees.
The stance of the KSRTC management assumes significance even as KSRTC Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Biju Prabhakar is meeting employees of the State transport undertaking on Monday to take them along while taking forward the initiatives under Restructure 2.0.
“Formation of the KSRTC-SWIFT will only pave the way for solving the present financial crisis. Moreover, the Finance Department has made it clear that the funds promised, including assistance from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board, will be provided to the KSRTC only if the new special purpose vehicle is floated,” the CMD said.
The KSRTC-SWIFT will function independently within the KSRTC. After 10 years, the company will be dissolved and the assets will be merged with the KSRTC. The revenue would be made available for the needs of KSRTC employees and for repayment of loans taken by the KSRTC, he said.
The KSRTC-SWIFT will operate the new buses that will be procured with ₹359 crore from the KIIFB. The new 310 CNG buses, 50 electric vehicles, 190 JNNURM buses, 29 Scania Volvo and 18 wet-leased Scania will form part of the new company.
A GPS and AI-assisted control room at the Anayara depot of the KSRTC here will take care of the bus operations. Long-distance buses will operate from here and feeder and courtesy services will be provided from five KSRTC depots, including Peroorkada, Vikas Bhavan Pappanamcode, and Enchakkal.
The KSRTC CMD will be the Ex-officio CMD of the new company. Experts in information technology, operations, traffic, accounts, ex-officio officials from the Finance and Transport Departments and Director, NATPAC, will form the board of the KSRTC-SWIFT.
Five professionals will be employed on contract basis.
No depots, workshops
The KSRTC-SWIFT will not have any depots or workshops. Drivers will be appointed on contract basis. The crew will be posted on 2:1 ratio. The crew will have to provide welcome kits on long- distance buses and take care of luggage. Cleaning of the buses after each trip will be part of the duty of the crew. No bus routes under the KSRTC will be transferred to the KSRTC-SWIFT.
The KSRTC CMD said no employees would be thrown out with the formation of the company. Staff reduction will be effected through redeployment, VRS and by leaving vacant retirement vacancies in the coming years. Once the buses changed to CNG and LNG from fossil fuel, the fuel bill would decrease considerably. Fare reduction would also help more patronage to the KSRTC fleet, he added.