Kerala’s conductor-less bus service gets nod from Motor Vehicles Department

Weeks ago, video of a bus operating in Kerala’s Palakkad district had gone viral after they started a new experiment. The bus was actually operating in a route without a conductor. After Motor Vehicle Department came across the video, Kerala Motor Vehicle Department had stopped the service of the bus as it was violating rules. In a good news, Kerala Motor Vehicles Department has now decided grant permission to continue the bus service that was stopped. The decision has been taken in a bid to promote new and innovative experiments by the bus operators.

Kerala’s conductor-less bus service gets nod from Motor Vehicles Department

Earlier, the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) had raised objection over this bus service as it was operating against the rules. Motor Vehicles Department said that as per rule 219 of Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules, a bus must have a conductor to collect money and distribute tickets. Tickets are the right of the passengers and it is impossible to run a bus without a conductor on board.

Thomas Kadankavil, the owner of the bus mentioned that he has now received a communication from the transport department that the bus service can be resumed. Another interesting fact about this private bus was the fact that it is the first private bus in Kerala to run on CNG. The bus was running on a 10 km route between Vadakkencherry to Alathur. The bus starts its journey from Vadakkencherry and passes through the villages like Nelliampadam, Thennilapuram and Erattakulam before reaching Alathur. It comes back to Vadakkencherry following the same route. The bus started the service last week without a conductor and for the first couple of days, it operated without any problem. A box has been kept inside the bus where the passengers can put their money. A QR code for making online payment is also placed inside the bus. For those who did not have the money were given an option to put the money in the box next day.

If the bus was taking the minimum charge from the passengers, then it is entitled to give passengers a ticket however in this case, the authorities found that the owner was not asking for money and the passengers were voluntarily putting money into the box. The money that is being put inside the box is seen as a donation and for the same reason it is not violating the rule. In India, most of private and government buses plying on Indian roads have conductors in it. This conductor-less bus service is actually unique and can prove profitable for the owners.

The bus is running on CNG which brings down the running cost of the bus drastically and along with that owner can save money that he would normally be paying to the conductor as passengers are putting the amount into the box. Outside India, there are many countries that operate buses without a conductor. They have systems where the passenger takes the ticket from the driver when they board or in advance from the bus stop and scan it once he or she board the bus.