Kerala State Road Transport Corporation
|Type||Public-sector corporation under the Transport Department, Government of Kerala|
|Founded||February 20, 1938(as Travancore State Transport Department)|
Mahe District of Puducherry
|Biju Prabhakar IAS (Managing Director)|
|Revenue||₹2,165.156 crore (US$270 million) (2015–16)|
|₹−738.768 crore (US$−93 million) (2015–16)|
|Subsidiaries||Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) |
|Footnotes / references|
Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is a state-owned road transport corporation in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the country's oldest state-run public bus transport services. The corporation is divided into three zones (South, Central and North), and its headquarters is in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Daily scheduled service has increased from 1,200,000 kilometres (750,000 mi) to 1,422,546 kilometres (883,929 mi), using 6,241 buses on 6,389 routes. The corporation transports an average of 3.145 million commuters per day.
The Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) was formed under KRTC in 2015 to manage affairs related to urban transportation. It was inaugurated on 12 April 2015 at Thevara. On 9 November 2021, a legally independent company called KSRTC SWIFT was formed to operate the long-distance buses of the Kerala Road Transport Corporation for a period of 10 years with an aim overcome the financial crisis faced by the corporation.
Travancore State Transport Department
The corporation's history dates back to before the formation of Kerala, making it one of India's oldest state-operated public road transport services. The Travancore government, headed by King Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, decided to establish the Travancore State Transport Department (TSTD) to improve the existing public-transport system. A committee was formed, and it was decided that expert advice was needed.
Initially, the department imported 60 Commer PNF3 chassis from England. Under Salter's supervision, they were fitted with Perkins Lynx diesel engines. The bus bodies were built by department staff, and Travancore Dewan C. P. Ramaswami Iyer insisted on using local wood. The body shop (supervised by Salter) was originally in Chakai, and was later moved to Pappanamcode. Salter's experimental body design became standard on the rest of the buses.
Most of the private operators on the Trivandrum-Kanyakumari route had to close when the roads were nationalized, and many experienced drivers, conductors, and inspectors lost their jobs. TSTD recruited them, and Salter selected 60 people out of 81 applicants. Nearly one hundred applicants with bachelor's degrees were employed as inspectors and conductors.
The state road-transport service was inaugurated on 20 February 1938 by Maharaja Sree Chithira Thirunal, who (with his family, Col. Goda Varma Raja, and other dignitaries) rode the first bus on the Main Road to Kowdiar Square; Salter drove the bus. A fleet of 33 buses and a large crowd joined in the celebration. On 21 February 1938, the first bus operated from Trivandrum to Kanyakumari.
The early buses had 23 leather seats. Entry was through the rear, and the buses had a centre aisle. Ten first-class seats were in the front. Schedules, fares and stops were published, and a parcel service began in which goods could be delivered by designated agents. Conductors wore khaki with a white topi, and inspectors wore khaki. Conductors had machines to issue tickets. Later buses were manufactured by Dodge, Fargo, Bedford, and Chevrolet.
The TSTD operated on three routes: Trivandrum-Nagercoil, Nagercoil-Kanyakumari, and Nagercoil-Colachal. Regular service began on 21 February 1938 with 39 buses. The minimum fare for one mile was one-half chakram The next fare was one chakram, and first-class tickets were 50 percent more. Children under age three travelled free, and those between three and 14 paid half the fare. Luggage under 28 pounds (13 kg) was free; 28–56 pounds (13–25 kg) was four chakrams, and 56–112 pounds (25–51 kg) was six chakrams.
Kerala State Road Transport Corporation
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) was established by the Kerala government on 15 March 1965 after the Road Transport Corporation Act, which came into force in 1950. The Transport Department became an autonomous corporation on 1 April 1965. 
At the time, there were 661 bus routes and 36 lorry routes. The corporation's fleet consisted of 901 buses, 51 lorries, and 29 other vehicles; thirty buses and eight lorries were new. Ten old buses, seven lorries, and one tractor-trailer were converted to other uses. The KLX registration series was reserved for the KSRTC. On 1 July 1989, KSRTC buses began registration at a dedicated RTO in Trivandrum with the KL-15 registration series.
In 2001 K. B. Ganesh Kumar became transport minister, and his brief tenure brought beneficial changes to the corporation. KSRTC was the first state to introduce Volvo buses into its fleet. Body work was outsourced, and the buses' contemporary design was publicized as high-tech. Kumar commissioned Sabu Cyril to redesign the bus livery. Low-entry, air suspension buses were introduced in Trivandrum, and minibus service began. The changes attracted passengers, making the corporation profitable.
The Kerala government issued a notification in 2012 suspending new permits for inter-district buses, exempting the KSRTC. Although it was assumed that the corporation would assume those routes, it created a shortage of service from Kochi to several northern districts. CPPR research and projects director Madhu Sivaraman conducted a study of KSRTC-private bus options.
On 2 June 2021, the rights to use the acronym KSRTC, logo and the name 'AanaVandi' were fully given to Kerala State Road Transport Corporation according to the trademarks act 1999, after a seven-year battle with the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, who issued a notice in 2014, stating that Kerala should stop using KSRTC. After the long drawn-out battle over intellectual property rights, the Kerala Road Transport Corporation has got the legal right to its trademarks acronym 'KSRTC' associated with the state-run transport corporation. Trade Marks registry certified that the emblem, the abbreviation KSRTC, logo and the name Aanavandi shall belong to Kerala Road Transport corporation. Kerala's claim was approved on 3 June 2021 by the Controller General of Patents Design and Trade Marks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The registration made Kerala RTC the lone custodian of the trademarks.
On 21 June 2021, KSRTC launched its first LNG bus service from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam for regular passengers. The first commercial LNG bus service had been launched exclusively for Petronet employees in Kochi earlier.
The corporation has a fleet of 6241 buses consisting Volvo, Scania, Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, Eicher Motors and minibuses. The vehicles owned by KSRTC is registered under a dedicated RTO at Thiruvananthapuram with a registration series KL-15.
Fleet numbering system
Although KSRTC has a dedicated RTO (Regional Transport Officer) to register its fleet, all its buses have bonnet numbers (for internal identification) adjacent to the depot mark at the front of the vehicle. RPE981, a typical fleet number, can be split into three parts: RP, E and 981. RP indicates the vehicle series, derived from the word transport; each series contains 1,000 vehicles. During the 1960s, KSRTC began assigning the serial number T to its buses; R followed the first 1,000 buses, followed by A and so on until the P series. Repetitive letters and the letter O were exempted. Later, two-letter combinations were used to identify bus series. The 1,000th bus in each series is numbered with a multiple of 1,000, indicating the total number of buses introduced by the corporation.
|T||1962 - 1966|
|R||1966 - 1971|
|A||1973 - 1978|
|N||1979 - 1983|
|S||1983 - 1986|
|P||1986 - 1989|
|TR||1989 – 1993|
|TA||1993 – 1995|
|TN||1995 – 1997|
|TS||1997 – 2000|
|TP||2000 – 2004|
|RT||2004 – 2006|
|RR||2006 – 2008|
|RA||2008 – 2010|
|RN||2010 – 2012|
|RS||2012 – 2015|
|RP||2015 - 2016|
The second part (E in the example) denotes the KSRTC workshop where the body work was done, and is absent on buses purchased fully built and outsourced bodywork. KSRTC owns five workshops: one central and four regional:
|C||Central Workshop, Pappanamcode, Thiruvananthapuram|
|M||Regional Workshop, Mavelikkara|
|A||Regional Workshop, Aluva|
|E||Regional Workshop, Edappal|
|K||Regional Workshop, Kozhikode|
The third part is the vehicle number of the series. In addition to this system, a TE was assigned to 144 buses built in Edappal from 1997 to 2003. Their depot vehicles are numbered in a D series, and the oil tankers are numbered in a TT series. The corporation has several ambulances, numbered AV. Buses procured as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission are numbered JN.
- Garuda Maharaja
- Introduced in 2016, Garuda Maharaja is the corporation's flagship service and uses Scania Metrolink HD 13.7-metre (45 ft) coaches. The buses have reclining seats with footrests and calf support, and radio and television in the front and centre. Water bottles and blankets are optional. Garuda Maharaja service is available on long-distance interstate routes, and most run on the Thiruvananthapuram–Bangalore route.
- Garuda King Class
- Premium service, introduced in 2014, on 10 air-conditioned Euro III Volvo 9400 XL B9R multi-axle buses with amnesties similar to Garuda Maharaja.
- Garuda Sanchari
- KSRTC operates two-axle Volvo buses in its Garuda Sanchari service (sanchari means "passenger" in Malayalam). The service was introduced by K. B. Ganesh Kumar in 2002. The first vehicles, two Volvo Euro III B7R Mark1 (TP620 and TP621) were the first Volvo buses introduced by a road transport corporation. One bus operated on the Trivandrum–Palakkad route and the other operated on the Trivandrum-Kozhikkode route until 2008. In 2008, KSRTC acquired three Volvo 9400 B7R Mark III buses.
- Super Deluxe Air Bus
- The non-air conditioned, white buses with streaks of tri-color on the sides can charge mobile phones and laptops, and have rear-axle air suspension. They are built on Ashok Leyland and Tata chassis. All passengers are guaranteed a seat. The KSRTC's oldest deluxe service operates between Kannur and Thiruvananthapuram. Started in 1967, it was part of the 1969 film Kannur Deluxe (the service's nickname). Large parts of the film were shot inside a bus.
- Long-distance, limited-stop deluxe night buses which use bypass roads to avoid traffic and save time. The maximum number of stops for Minnal service (minnal means "lightning" in Malayalam) is eight. The 41-seat, red-and-white buses (with lightning bolts) have 2+2 reclining seats and rear-axle air suspension. The service was introduced in June 2017, under managing director M. G. Rajamanikyam. Its color scheme was chosen to enhance nighttime visibility. The buses are built in-house on Ashok Leyland 160 hp Viking 222’’ (ALPSV 4/186) BS III and Tata LPO 1512c EX/58 BS III air suspension chassis.
- Sabari Air Bus
- Introduced in 2016 as a service for Sabarimala pilgrims. The buses have a forest-themed livery to increase awareness of the environmentally-sensitive Periyar National Park. The buses (with facilities and fares similar to deluxe buses) also run throughout Kerala and interstate, and are built on Ashok Leyland BS III Viking 160 hp (ALPSV 4/186) and Tata LPO 1512c EX/58 BS III air-suspension chassis.
- Super Express Air Bus
- Green-and-yellow buses, with paint inspired by chundan vallam, have deluxe features at a lower fare. Super Express buses have more stops than deluxe buses, and standees are permitted. The fleet includes buses built in-house on Ashok Leyland 160 hp Viking 222 BS III (ALPSV 4/186) and Tata LPO 1512c EX/58 BS III air-suspension chassis.
- Super Fast Passenger (SFP)
- Ashok Leyland, Tata and Eicher chassis. The service began in early 1992 as an improvement of the Fast Passenger service.
- Super Fast buses with water-conservation messages (sandeshavahini means "messenger" in Malayalam), pamphlets, posters, and other publicity materials for distribution KSRTC introduced the service in March 2017 with 15 buses, one for each district (except Thiruvananthapuram, which has two). The bus bodies were fabricated at KSRTC's Edappal regional workshop on Eicher 20.15 N LPO BS III and Ashok Leyland BS III 160 hp Viking 222 (ALPSV 4/186) chassis.
- Fast Passenger (FP)
- Limited Stop Fast Passenger (LSFP)
- LSFP service is FP service stopping at Super Fast stops.
- Rajadhani Point-to-Point
- Trivandram,Palakkad Calicut and Wayanad districts. Introduced in Trivandram district as ring road service in 2012, it was introduced in the Malabar region (connecting Calicut to Wayanad and Palakkad districts) the following year.
- KSRTC's most basic service, the red-and-yellow buses have bench 3+2 or 2+2 seats. Older Super Class buses are usually converted and used for ordinary service.
- Town-to-Town (TT)
- TT service, charging ordinary fares with fewer stops, was introduced during the mid-1990s.
- Ananthapuri Fast/Thiru Kochi
- Ananthapuri Fast are blue-and-white City Fast buses in Thiruvananthapuram. City Fast buses also operated in Ernakulam district.
- Limited Stop Ordinary
- Introduced as limited-stop ordinary service, the buses are also used for ordinary service. seating capacity of 53, and a low footboard. The bodies were built in-house.
- AC Low Floor Bus
- Volvo B7R LE and 8400 BS IV buses were acquired under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM).
- Non-AC Low-Floor/Semi-Low-Floor Bus
- KSRTC operates non-air-conditioned buses (purchased under the JNNRUM Phase 1) on short routes. The low-floor Ashok Leyland RESLF BS III, Ashok Leyland 225 hp 12M FESLF and Tata Starbus Urban 9/12 BS III built on 1618 SLF by Marcopolo and ACGL buses stop at all Fast Passenger stops.
- Double-Decker Buses
Travancore State Transport Department superintendent E. G. Salter imported double-decker buses in 1937. KSRTC also used one of the original AEC Routemasters in Kochi on a route from Palarivattom to Willingdon Island from the 1960s to the late 1970s. A court, faced with non-payment by the KSRTC, ordered the seizure of the Kochi double-decker until the debt was paid.Thiruvananthapuram originally had 15 British Leyland double-decker buses, serially numbered from DD1 to DD15, with bodies built at KSRTC Central Workshop in Thiruvananthapuram. The buses had a semi-automatic transmission, with no clutch. The last five buses were moved to Eranakulam district. KSRTC launched two double-decker buses (serial numbers TR555 and TR666) during the 1990s.
- Articulated buses
- KSRTC owns an Ashok Leyland Vestibule (BS III 123 kW) bus, which operates in Thiruvananthapuram district and Kollam district. Passengers pay ordinary fares. Trailer buses had Ashok Leyland tractor units and Allwyn trailers.
- LNG buses KSRTC launched its first LNG bus service on 21 June 2021 in order to reduce the operational losses and to promote an energy source considered to be far less damaging to the environment. The bus service would be operated on the Thiruvananthapuram-Ernakulam and Ernakulam-Kozhikode routes.
Introduced in 2022, KSRTC Swift operates Volvo AC sleeper buses on long distance / interstate routes.
- KSRTC's flagship luxury service during the 1970s operated nonstop between Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam. Introduced by transport minister R. Balakrishna Pillai, buses had onboard toilets and a reservation system. Two Ashok Leyland buses with bonnet numbers A555, A666 and a super-deluxe bus (numbered 4000) were used for the service, which was discontinued due to a high accident rate.
- Lightning Express
- Long distance, limited-stop service during the 1990s. The silver buses were later converted to Volvos.
- White Express
- Red-and-white buses which operated during the 1990s
- Silver Line Jet
- Introduced in 2015 as a successor to the Lighting Express, the limited-stop intrastate service had reclining seats, a CCTV camera, Wi-Fi, and charging facilities for laptops and mobile phones. It was discontinued due to low ridership, reportedlu caused by lack of air suspension and high fares. The 41-seat buses were fabricated in-house on Ashok Leyland BS III 160 hp Viking 222’’ (ALPSV 4/186) and Eicher 20.15 N LPO BS III chassis.
- Pink Bus
- KSRTC launched the women-only city fast service in Thiruvananthapuram district in 2017. The buses had women conductors. Two old Ashok Leyland 160 hp Viking BS III 222’’ (ALPSV 4/186) pink super-fast buses were used for the service. However, the buses failed to attract passengers.
- KSRTC's minibus service, introduced in 2003, was the first of its kind in India. With a capacity of 25 to 30 seats, the buses were ideal for some routes and stopped at passenger request. The service was discontinued due to bus-durability concerns.
- Ananthapuri Air Bus
- Introduced in 2005 in Thiruvananthapuram, the service was a predecessor of low-floor buses. With two doors and a long body, the buses could carry almost twice as many passengers as other buses. Intended for tourists, the semi-low floor (635mm), rear engine, non-air-conditioned bus by Ashok Leyland Panther chassis (ALPS 3/22) had a body built by Irizar – TVS. With H-series turbocharged engines conforming to BS-II emission standards the 42 seater buses also had front and rear air suspension. KSRTC had a total 4 of them with serial numbers RT599, RT600, RT601, and RT602. These buses had dark blue lines on white background paintjob.
- AC Air Deluxe
A short-lived air-conditioned service was launched in 2005 after the first Volvo buses. There were 10 buses: five Tata (built by Popular) and five Ashok Leyland, built by Irizar TVS. The Tata buses were built on LPO 1616/62 BS-II chassis with engine-driven (direct-drive) air-conditioning, and the AL chassis were 177 hp 12M BS-II (ALPSV 4/86) with air-conditioning driven by a slave engine.At the end of 2007, KSRTC added 20 Tata Globus 45 buses to its fleet. The buses with tri-colour streaks on a white background, had reclining seats and recharging facilities for mobile phones.
Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation
In November 2014, Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) was formed to operate low-floor buses procured with financial assistance from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
KSRTC SWIFT (K-SWIFT) is a company formed on 9 November 2021 by KSRTC with an aim to overcome the financial crisis faced by the corporation. K-SWIFT function independently within the KSRTC and operates the long-distance buses of the corporation.
|South||Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta||Thiruvananthapuram|
|Central||Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur||Kochi|
|North||Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikkode, Wayanad, Kannur, Kasargod||Kozhikode|
The Thiruvananthapuram (south) zone, which includes three districts, has more buses. The north zone (which includes six districts) has 945 buses, most long-distance.
Depots and workshops
KSRTC has 28 depots, 45 sub-depots, 19 operating centres, 28 stationmaster offices, five workshops and three staff-training colleges throughout the state. In 1995, the corporation established the Sree Chitra Thirunal College of Engineering in Pappanamcode at its central workshop.
KSRTC has 28 station master (SM) offices in Ambalapuzha, Ayoor, Eenchakkal, Ernakulam Jetty, Ettumanoor, Iritty, Kadakkal, Kaliyakkavila, Kuthiyathode, Malayilkeezh, Mundakkayam, Nagarcoil, Ochira, Pattambi, Pothencode, Puthenkurishu, Tirur, Valanchery, Varkala, Vytila Hub, and staff-training colleges in Trivandrum, Ernakulam and Edappal.
|Service class||Minimum fare||Rate per km for travel above minimum fare|
|City Fast||₹10||75 paise|
|Fast Passenger/LSFP||₹14||75 paise|
|Super Fast Passenger||₹32||78 paise|
|Super Express||₹22||85 paise|
|Super Deluxe||₹30||100 paise|
|Luxury/Hi-tech and AC||₹44||120 paise|
|Garuda Sanchari/Biaxle Premium||₹45||145 paise|
|Garuda Maharaja/ Garuda King Class/ Multi-axle Premium||₹90||145 paise|
|A/C Low Floor||₹20|
|Non A/C Low Floor||₹10|
24 Hour Passenger support system is available and the Contact number for the same is 0471 - 2463799 or 9447071021. Passengers can also submit the suggestions and complaints through the official face book page of KSRTC
Cultural impact and in media
KSRTC buses have a wide fan following across the entire state of Kerala. Fondly called as Aanavandi, it has close to 100 dedicated fan pages on Instagram. Many people see KSRTC buses as a callback to their childhood nostalgia, while some others enjoys frequently travelling in these buses. Even some incidents have been reported where the passengers request the authority to bring their favourite buses, which was taken to other depots from their existing depots.
KSRTC buses have been featured in many Malayalam movies. The 2012 film Ordinary's main plot is revolving around some incidents happening in a KSRTC bus. Since then, film fraternity started associating KSRTC buses to the culture of Keralites. There is a famous quote from the movie Jacobinte Swargarajyam about KSRTC buses where the hero states that "one Malayali (Keralite) has to travel in a KSRTC bus to be qualified as a Malayali". The 2021 movie Yuvam is completely based on KSRTC. It shows the journey of three young advocates, who tries to save KSRTC from getting privatised due to debts which happened due the inlawful actions by some politicians.
"The history of KSRTC in Kerala is intertwined with the lives of the people. It's not just a vehicle service. This public transport system has left its mark on our cultural life, including in cinema and literature and it cannot be erased so quickly"; said Antony Raju following the legal battle Kerala won over Karnataka to use the brand KSRTC. Kerala has won the trademark battle against Karnataka. The acronym KSRTC, which was being used by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, will now be used only in Kerala.
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