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Bus owners may unite for survival in Karnataka

Private bus operators are mulling over corporatising their operations by pooling their resources.

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Bus owners may unite for survival in Karnataka
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Stung by the branded services of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and its other avatars in the districts, private bus operators are mulling over corporatising their operations by pooling their resources.

 Private operators run over 8,000 vehicles in Bangalore Urban, Bangalore Rural, Chitradurga, DK, Udupi, Bellary, Davanagere, Shimoga, Tumkur, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Mandya and parts of Northern Karnataka districts.

 “If we are not able to corporatise and operate under an umbrella organisation, I do not think we can survive for long. The KSRTC and its four sister organisations preside over 28,000 vehicles and all are less than three years old. This makes a perfect condition for the growth of the government or quasi government sector transport to flourish,” said Rajavarma Ballal, president of the State Private Bus Owners’ Federation.

 But where do the private operators stand?
 “Unfortunately, in the private sector each bus owner thinks for himself. Even if he is a single bus owner, he is not willing to join the corporatisation stream … as he is highly indebted to a bank or financier, while the KSRTC or any other state-run transport corporation in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and other states are flushed with central funds like JNNURM,” he said.
 

“I feel it may make sense for private operators if they are assured of returns in a corporatised operation. But since the KSRTC is towering above private operators who are badly fragmented, that is not possible,” said Bhaskar Salian, president of the Dakshina Kannada Bus Operators’

Association which has over 3000 buses under its banner.
Rabindra Nayak, who represents private bus transporters in Udupi, said corporatised private operations could work through a combined booking mechanism.

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