KSRTC puts brake on double-decker plans

KSRTC puts brake on double-decker plans

The KSRTC is ready to purchase buses, but bus-makers want the corporation to place bulk orders.

A year after Centre’s push, KSRTC's move to try double-decker buses has come to a nought as bus manufacturers are reluctant to take up the project.

Last year, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had started working on purchasing 10 such buses on trial basis. The corporation had planned to introduce it on five routes in the state that were among the 70 routes identified by the Centre.

KSRTC managing director S R Umashankar said bus manufacturers were ready to make double-decker buses only if they get bulk orders. “The KSRTC is ready to purchase buses. But bus-makers want us to place a bulk order. We have to see whether other RTCs (road transport corporations) will come forward to purchase such vehicles,” he said.

Sources in KSRTC said they held a meeting with bus manufacturers who were not convinced of the project’s feasibility. “They were not really enthusiastic about the project. A double-decker bus involves several changes, right from the chassis. They said such moves were risky as there was no market yet for double-deckers,” the source explained.

In December 2017, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had sent a notification promoting double-decker buses, which have high capacity but require less space on road. The routes between Bengaluru and Chennai, Mysuru, Hubballi, Hyderabad and Mangaluru were identified for such buses.

The ministry followed it up with a memorandum of understanding with the London Transport Authority in January this year, seeking its expertise to improve public transport in India.

However, officials had expressed doubts about the suitability of the roads to carry double-decker buses. “We can’t compare our roads to those abroad. Especially the interior roads in cities and mofussil roads on the inter-city routes are not designed to carry such vehicles. From gradient to curvature, the basics of road engineering have to be improved if we want to run double-decker buses,” the source said.