Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is a state owned road transport corporation in the Indian state Kerala. It is one of the oldest state run public bus transport services in India. The corporation is divided into three separate independent zones: South Zone, Central Zone and North Zone, with headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode respectively. The history of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation dates back to before the formation of Kerala, making it one of the oldest State-operated and managed public road transport services in the country. The Travancore State government headed by King Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, decided to start the Travancore State Transport Department (TSTD) as it found that the existing system of public transport needed an overhaul.
It was operated by private agencies and there was cut-throat competition between these agencies with profiteering being the sole motive. In order to prevent the public from being fleeced the government decided to introduce and regulate public transport in the State. A special committee for the reorganization of public transport was formed and it was decided to seek the services of an expert in this field. That brought E.G. Salter, who was Assistant Operating Superintendent of London Passenger Transport Board, to Travancore. He joined the committee on 20 September 1937 and began working on the project.
Initially the department imported 60 Commer PNF3 chassis from England and they were fitted with Perkins made Lynx diesel engines under the direct supervision of Salter. The bodies of the buses were built by the staff of the Travancore State Transport Department under the supervision of the Superintendent. Dewan C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer insisted on using local wood to build the body. The bus body shop supervised by Salter was at Chakai which was later moved to Pappanamcode. The experimental design of the body created by Salter became the standard design of the rest of the buses
Most of the private operators on the Trivandrum-Kanyakumari route had to shut down their services with the route being nationalized. Many experienced drivers, conductors and inspectors lost their jobs. TSTD decided to recruit them. Out of 81 people applied for job in state transport 60 lucky people got job and they were selected by Salter. The archival records mention a proper selection process, which incidentally was the first-ever staff selection program for a State public sector enterprise. Nearly a hundred Bachelor degree holders were given appointments as Inspectors and Conductors.