Cool! KSRTC drivers vie for AC buses

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The KSRTC Ernakulam depot faces a unique problem. A batch of its drivers doesn’t want to be deployed on any buses other than the low-floor AC services, which is affecting other schedules as the corporation is already fighting an acute staff shortage.

The issue has taken on gigantic proportion as three drivers moved court against the mandatory rescheduling of services and staff being changed every six months.

“Before low-floor air-conditioned buses were introduced back in December 2009, a group of 30 willing staff were sent for training in Bengaluru where the Volvo company is based.

Gradually, others drivers are being trained by Volvo experts at the company service centre in Kalamassery.

However, now the first batch insists they should be permanently deployed on the upmarket orange Volvo buses,” a KSRTC official said on the condition of anonymity.

The drivers claim that they should be given seniority when it comes to driving the buses as they were the first batch to be professionally trained, a demand rejected by the management.

“How can we do that? The corporation decides seniority by the total number of years put in by the staff and not on any other basis,” the official said.

With the issue pending before court, the management has for the time being postponed the rotation policy indefinitely.

“It was originally slated to come into effect from last Sunday. Now that three drivers have already moved the court and another three are planning to take the legal route, we don’t want to create a mountain out of a mole hill,” the official said.

There are a total of 377 drivers in the Ernakulam depot out of which nearly 90 have received training on driving the low-floor buses.

With only half the total staff available on a particular shift, officials are worried that services will be affected if the 30-odd drivers continue to “behave indifferently”.

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