The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus station at Pathanamthitta, a major stopover of bus services to Sabarimala from different parts of Kerala, is all set to become the hub of special services run by the utility to Pampa.
The new initiative, according to officials, forms part of a plan to decongest the Nilackal base camp, besides offering more amenities to pilgrims. The corporation has started preparing the operational area to receive the services, the first of which is slated to operate on November 22.
Under the new system, Pampa special services from different centres via Pathanamthitta will wind up their operation at the station here while passengers are required to continue their onward journey on chain services using the same ticket. These tickets will have a validity of four hours, which will ensure that the passenger gets enough time for taking rest and refreshments.
The chain services, which will be operated using a fleet of 50 services in the first phase, will run every five minutes during the season. Officials say the number of buses would be raised based on demand .
As part of the project, the KSRTC is establishing facilities for the pilgrims, including restrooms and luggage space. Plans are afoot to arrange biotoilets in association with the Pathanamthitta municipality while Kudumbashree will open a canteen.
Circular services connecting temples in and around the region will be operated from the Pathanamthitta bus station.
Meanwhile, authorities on Thursday opened a special Sabarimala ward at the Ranni taluk hospital. The hospital run by the Health Department at the Sannidhanam too has been functional. Services of 70 health workers, including medical doctors and paramedical staff, have been made available at the hospital.