Improving connectivity between airports and cities, the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) formally launched the Fly Bus services at the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport on Tuesday. Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran flagged off the first service from the airport to East Fort and Thampanoor.
Low-floor air conditioned buses will be operated round the clock by the airports at Thiruvananthapuram, Nedumbassery and Karipur to the respective city centres to cater to the travel needs, mainly, of air passengers.
In Thiruvananthapuram, three buses have been designated for the service every 40 minutes. Ten buses will be deployed for the Fly Bus services in Kochi and will operate every 30 minutes. Two buses will be used for hourly services in Kozhikode.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Saseendran said the KSRTC was committed towards serving all sections of people, in spite of the difficulties it faced. Several reforms were being considered to usher in far-reaching positive changes. “The trial run of the electric bus in the three cities is a success. Efforts were on conduct trial services from Kochi to Munnar to test the efficiency of the bus in high-range areas,” he said.
KSRTC chairman and managing director Tomin J. Thanchankary said the company was mulling a proposal to introduce Fly Bus services from the airports to tourist destinations, including Kovalam, Kumarakom and Munnar. However, such steps hinged on the success of the services that have been currently launched.
He added that the buses would function on a fixed schedule and would not depend on the arrival and departure of flights.
During the function, taxi drivers who operated from the airport took exception to a comment made by Mr. Thachankary. While pointing out that fares from the international and domestic terminals to Thampanoor have been fixed at Rs. 25 and Rs. 35 respectively, the official remarked that passengers would have to shell out Rs. 550 for travelling the same distance in taxis. The Fly Bus would enable commuters to travel at less than one-tenth of the taxi fare, he added.
Later, a group of taxi drivers lashed out at Mr. Thachankary and accused him of projecting an image that they sought to fleece passengers by charging exorbitant fares. The taxi fare from the airport to the city has been fixed at Rs. 350.
V.S. Sivakumar, MLA, appealed to the Transport Minister to protect the interests of the 340-odd taxi drivers, many of who have been operating from the airport for nearly 40 years. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Director George G. Tharakan was also present on the occasion.
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