Fares hiked by 10 to 15 per cent

Travelling within the city and along coastal towns by bus is set to become more expensive, with the private bus association here announcing a 10 to 15 per cent hike in fares on Saturday.

Under the revised fare, to be in place from August 20, the minimum rate for travel in city buses will be Rs. 7, up by Rs. 1, while a ticket from Mangalore to Udupi will cost Rs. 55 (up from Rs. 50), and from Udupi to Kundapur the fare will be Rs. 38, up by Rs. 4.

K. Rajavarma Ballal, president of the Karnataka State Bus Operators Association, told presspersons that the increase in fares reflected the increase in the price of diesel. The decision would apply on 8,000 private buses that have a passenger market of nearly 20 per cent in the State.

“Even though the government notification allows us to increase the fare by 20 to 25 per cent, we have decided to start with a marginal hike,” said Mr. Ballal.

However, the association cautioned that with increasing fuel price, the ticket rates will also go up. “With every increase of 50 paise or so, we may have to increase the ticket cost by two or three per cent,” said S. Sadananda Chatra, general secretary of the association.

The concessions for students (50 per cent reduced fare) and advanced ticket buyers (35 per cent for long distance travel booked one month in advance) will continue, the association said. The city bus operators were also looking at the possibility of making travel for the disabled entirely free.

Swipe cards on coastal route

Private buses plying between Kundapur and Mangalore will soon offer RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) cards to passengers. With money credited to the card in advance, the ticket fare is reduced from the balance when the passenger swipes the card on the ticket machine, said S. Sadananda Chatra, general secretary of Karnataka State Bus Operators Association. The system is installed in 100 buses. The card, costing Rs. 100, is valid for two years. Depending on the success of the project, RFID will be introduced in more routes in the district, the association said.

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