'Sreeja' ends 50 years of service as income dries up amid Covid pandemic
Sreeja, a private bus in Kannur has ended its service after 50 years as the income reduced considerably due to Covid pandemic.
Since 1970, Sreeja has been conducting services on Chalode, Kuttiattoor, Mayyil-Kolachery Kambu via Kannur hospital route. Five years back, the people had honoured the bus and its employees.
Though the bus was changed 7 times and its owners twice, the name remained unchanged. Not a single trip was cancelled in its 50 years of service. Sreeja always remained the most reliable and trustworthy mode of commute for the public. While the bus was taken for maintenance, an alternate bus would be deployed by the owners.
Chirakkal native CH Narayanan was the first owner of the bus. Sreeja was the name of his niece. In 1995, Kovoor native PM Madhusudhanan bought the bus. Since his wife’s name was also Sreeja, the name of the bus was not changed.
Kuttiattoor natives K Gangadharan, K Rajan, M Premarajan and CP Damodharan fondly remember the bus which would stop anywhere for passengers for their convenience.
During the Covid pandemic, the bus had to halt services for seven months. As there was no income, Madhusudhanan decided to stop the service.
Driver Ravi, conductor PM Rajesh and cleaner C Mohanan have been working in this bus for the past 30 years. Now, all three are in search of new jobs.
In my 30 years of service, I have taken leave only for 10 days every year, that too in case of emergency. Sreeja was renowned as the bus that doesn’t stop services even on holidays like Onam, Vishu or Christmas, stated Ravi.
M Sukumaran, a retired official in the post office remembers Sreeja from his teenage days. From 1972 to 1980, Sreeja was an inevitable part of my school days and later my college days. Even after retirement I used to travel in Sreeja for the love of the bus, he said.