Private operators ask State govt. to allow them cargo, parcel service

A few days ago, the cash-strapped Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and two other road transport corporations launched cargo and parcel services to generate more non–fare revenue. The primary objective of the new service by road transport corporations is to generate non-fare box revenue and reduce the financial burden induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the counterparts of the corporations in the private sector have demanded that the State government allow private bus operators to carry parcels in the buses and discontinue the rules of imposing penalty for transporting cargo.

Nataraj Sharma, general secretary of Karnataka State Tourist Operators’ Association, said, “For years, the RTO officials have been imposing hefty penalties on private operators citing that parcels and articles cannot be transported in a passenger vehicle. There are instances of imposing penalty of ₹10,000. Now, KSRTC has been allowed to do the cargo business. We demand that the State government allow even private operators to transport cargo.”

He further added that after the outbreak of pandemic, private operators were hit hard by poor ridership and recovery from losses was taking time. “It is not just the State road transport corporations that suffered loss after the outbreak of pandemic. Even private operators are hit hard. It is discriminatory if only government run corporations are allowed to do the business,” he said.

Other than in Karnataka, the KSRTC has launched services in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The KSRTC, NWKRTC, and NEKRTC — cumulatively cover 51 lakh km with 14,500 schedules and carry 38 lakh passengers every day. In the first phase of the initiative, Namma Cargo will operate in 88 taluks in Karnataka and 21 inter-State locations. The Transport Department also aims to expand the service to provide home deliveries.

Transport Commissioner N. Shivakumar said, “The KSRTC is running buses under stage carriage. The private running buses under stage carriage can carry parcels like KSRTC but transportation of cargo in not permitted in contract carriage buses.”

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