Representatives of citizen bodies at a meeting of the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) here on Thursday opposed private bus operators' demand for upward revision of bus fares.
Private bus operators sought increase in the fares of city, express and service buses. While the operators insisted on enforcement of the government notification fixing the minimum fare at Rs. 6 for 2 km, representatives of citizen bodies said the present rate of Rs. 4 should be continued.
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner Subodh Yadav, who is the chairman of the RTA, had called the meeting following a representation by the Dakshina Kannada Bus Operators' Association for upward revision of bus fares.
Nagesh M.E, the advocate representing the association, sought the authority to enforce the minimum fare stated by the Government vide notification dated October 3, 2010.
He said the RTA should fix the minimum fare as stated in the notification. Since the issue of the notification in October, fuel prices have increased. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) had revised the bus fare. Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation had fixed the minimum bus fare at Rs. 6, he said.
Balakrishna Rao from Nagarika Samiti, Addur, questioned the plea made by private bus operators, who had questioned before the Karnataka High Court the powers of the RTA in revising bus fares.
Mr. Rao said the operators were demanding a revision when there had not been any change in the facilities in buses.
Mr. Rao alleged that the conductors of private buses had been rude to passengers. The concession in bus fare given to students was not implemented in a proper way, he alleged.
Hanumantha Kamath, president, Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti, Mangalore, said the private operators were demanding revision at a time when the KSRTC had expressed its willingness to operate city service. “Why is the RTA not considering the KSRTC's 101 applications (seeking permission to operate city service)? While keeping the applications pending, the RTA has granted permits to 27 private operators,” said Mr. Kamath and alleged that the RTA was favouring private operators as against the KSRTC.
Muneer Katipalla, president, district unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), said revision of fare did not serve any purpose when the bus operators were not collecting the present fare properly.
“While one operator collects Rs. 4 another charges Rs. 6. There is no uniformity in fare that is collected,” Mr. Katipalla said. “I do not see operators incurring losses when they can operate buses free of cost when an organisation held a convention recently (the Virat Hindu Samavesha in Nehru Maidan on January 2).”
Mr. Katipalla said he would be in favour of scientific revision of fare which was uniform across all the stages of bus route. Having heard the representations, the Deputy Commissioner closed the meeting by stating that he would take a decision.