When one of Kerala’s biggest public sector unit — the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation — is reeling under heavy losses with salaries to the nearly 35,000 employees getting delayed, its managing director is leaving for Amsterdam to study urban transport. At the same time in Kerala when an enterprising bus owner decided to operate his new CNG bus without a conductor, he was pulled up for violation of the rules.
On Thursday, the regional transport officials acting on a complaint against K. Thomas asked him to stop the service because the rules state that a conductor is a must in a bus that operates to carry the public.
Thomas began operating his new CNG bus named Kadankavil in Palakkad district on Sunday and apart from being conductor-less, there was another feature, a totally new concept.
“Since there is no conductor, I decided to keep three boxes inside the bus and those who travel in it can deposit any amount they deem is fair. In case someone has no money to deposit, they can travel free and the next time when they travel they can pay together. Why I did this was that mostly people are honest and I felt this was an opportunity given to the travellers to prove their honesty,” said Thomas.
And with regard to the conductor-less initiative which has hit a roadblock, Thomas said, “since the rules have to be followed, from Friday onwards my bus will be back on the road with a conductor,” said Thomas.
Incidentally, in numerous countries most of the public transport buses have no conductors and it’s the driver who doubles up as the conductor also, but in this regard Kerala which often claims coming out with path breaking initiatives, has failed.