Finance Minister rules out any hike in bus fares
The government has taken an in-principle decision to reopen all the 14 closed APSRTC depots in the State in response to numerous representations received from elected representatives, besides the public.
The reopening of each of these depots will cost the exchequer at least Rs.2.5 crore. The decision was taken at a meeting convened here on Wednesday by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, which was attended by Transport Minister Botcha Satyanarayana, Finance Minister Anam Ramanarayan Reddy, Chief Secretary P.K. Mohanty, APSRTC MD A.K. Khan and other senior officials.
The Finance Minister said that the RTC management had been asked to assess the condition of the roads required for re-introduction of services from the depots, and also the possible revenue accruals from these services. Construction of commercial complexes on the vacant land of these depots as a revenue source could be taken up to make the reopened depots viable.
The Chief Minister specified as absolutely necessary, the reopening of the depots at places such as Bheemghal, B. Kothakota and Narsapur.
Officials informed the Chief Minister that RTC was operating its service on 7,763 routes, using 213 bus depots, 777 bus stations and 1,881 bus-shelters.
The Finance Minister said the transport undertaking was incurring heavy losses as it was running its services without profit motive, but ruled out the possibility of enhancement of fares.
Responding to a plea by the RTC management, the Chief Minister promised to order release of payments due to RTC in lieu of concessions offered by it to various social groups at the instance of the government, but this would be done only after assessing the tax amounts due to the government from RTC.
'He asked the RTC management to chalk out a plan to mop up revenue from all sources by making optimum use of their commercial properties at its bus depots and stations.