TN and Maharashtra put a pause to the plan of KSRTC interstate bus services
The move made by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation to operate more interstate buses is currently facing a challenge with the other states, as they are not willing to sign the reciprocal agreements with KSRTC
BENGALURU: The move made by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation to operate more interstate buses is currently facing a challenge with the other states, as they are not willing to sign the reciprocal agreements with KSRTC.
Their perspective is that inking a deal will only be a benefit for KSRTC as it has more luxury buses and it offers better service compared to their own state road transport undertakings (SRTUs).
An official of the KSRTC has said that the corporation had already proposed to operate luxury buses, for the first time, to cities like Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Surat, Anand and Rajkot in Gujarat. While the KSRTC and Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) agreed to operate buses, the proposal remains on paper since these buses have to pass through Maharashtra.
The Maharashtra government has been insisting that the KSRTC should pay a passenger tax of 17.5% on each ticket for the buses which will be travelling to Gujarat through their state. However, KSRTC officials had said higher tax will only make tickets costlier. Currently, the KSRTC operates 50 buses to Maharashtra.
A senior KSRTC official has said that, “We’ve asked Maharashtra to exempt KSRTC from passenger tax, but there has been no positive response. In fact, we are not imposing any such passenger tax on other state buses plying in Karnataka. We are hoping these issues would be resolved at the earliest and we can commence services to Gujarat.”
“In fact, MSRTC is delaying the transport reciprocal agreement with KSRTC. Our services and buses are far better than MSRTC so passengers will naturally prefer KSRTC. MSRTC doesn’t have adequate luxury buses to operate between the two states,” said another KSRTC official.
Meanwhile, the plan of KSRTC to operate several cities in Rajasthan has also been shelved. “We are ready to operate buses to Rajasthan or Delhi, but we can do little if other states do not cooperate with us. However, several private operators are already running services to these cities,” added the official.
However, some of the states are also being reluctant to sign an agreement with the KSRTC. The corporation has not signed an agreement with the state of Tamil Nadu since 2008. At present, KSRTC operates only 410 buses through TN. KSRTC officials have said that there is a great demand for bus services from Bengaluru to various cities in TN as well as Kerala and Puducherry by passing through TN.
“We have sent more than 30 letters to TN to conduct bilateral talks but the response has been lukewarm,” said an official.