Irate residents of SIHS Colony in Singanallur picketed six buses for nearly three hours protesting against the increase in bus fare imposed on them through introduction of semi low floor buses in lieu of ordinary buses.
Residents in a petition to the Collector pointed out that they had represented for introducing two more bus services, since students, workers and office-goers were finding it difficult to board crowded buses during the peak hours.
The authorities in the name of introducing additional buses had replaced ordinary services with semi low floor buses where the fare is more than 80 per cent to 100 per cent higher than the normal fare collected in ordinary buses. Revenue, police and TNSTC officials held talks with the agitated residents and released the buses.
Residents pointed out that they were not against semi low floor buses but only against replacement of all ordinary services with semi low floor buses.
Such a trend would not give any option for the poor, salaried working class to pay such a fare every day.
Meanwhile, District Secretary of the Communist Party of India, M. Arumugam in a statement pointed out that consumer organisations and political parties objected to the 100 per cent bus fare hike that was indirectly imposed on the people when these semi low floor buses were introduced.
Recently, the Deputy Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin flagged off 200 semi low floor buses out of the 300 sanctioned for Coimbatore under the Jawarhalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
As a result, all the buses during the peak hours had become the semi-low floor buses forcing the students, workers, office goers to pay 100 per cent extra fare every day.
CPI strongly condemned this practice and observed that it was only an indirect way of imposing bus fare hike.
Hence, taking the interests and welfare of the poor people into account, he sought withdrawal of the bus fare increase and demanded that semi-low floor buses should be operated with the same fare structure.