Navakerala bus: high ticket fare, inconvenient schedule keeps passengers away | trip

Bengaluru: Kerala RTC’s Garuda Premium bus (Navakerala Bus), which operates on the Bengaluru – Kozhikode route, is running with empty seats as passengers are reluctant to book tickets in it. High ticket prices and inconvenient schedules are the main reasons for passengers to stay away from the much-celebrated bus. The service was flagged off on May 5 and tickets were sold out in the first few days. However, after that the bus started moving with empty seats. The 26-seater bus will require Rs 35,000 as fuel costs for both parties alone. It could fetch only Rs 65,000 even if all seats to Bengaluru and back are booked.

Awkward timetable
The bus leaving Kozhikode at 4 am would reach Bengaluru at 11.30 am. Meanwhile, the return journey starts at 2:30 PM and reaches Kozhikode at 10:00 PM. However, the bus often arrives late in Bengaluru and Kozhikode as it gets stuck in heavy traffic. In addition, those coming from far away have to leave their homes in the early hours to catch the bus at 4am. Moreover, the bus reaches Kozhikode late at night, making it difficult for most passengers to find transportation from there. More people would benefit from the bus leaving at 6am. Being a single service bus, there are technical issues in planning the return journey from Bengaluru at night.

Ask for stage price
Passengers are demanding that the ticket price be converted into a fare instead of the Garuda Premium end-to-end ticket. Currently, the ticket from Bengaluru to Kozhikode costs Rs 1171 per head. However, it would amount to Rs 1256 including GST. The stage rate is determined based on the distance. But in end-to-end fares, passengers boarding the bus from various stops like Mysuru, Bathery, Kalpetta and Thamarassery have to pay the full amount. If ticket prices are converted into stage fares, it may be possible to attract more passengers from places like Mysuru.

More luxury buses to Kerala
Meanwhile, the Karnataka RTC is all set to reschedule services to Kerala once they receive 40 brand new multi-axle AC buses. New multi-axle buses would replace the current Iravat multi-axle buses. The new AC sleeper buses would ply on the Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod routes in place of the seat buses. Currently, their multi-axle sleeper service ‘Ambari Utsav’ is operating on the Thrissur – Ernakulam routes. Meanwhile, the non-AC sleeper service ‘Palakki’ is operating on the Thrissur route.