Private bus operators see red


The private bus operators had urged the committee to increase the minimum fare to Rs.8.

Private bus operators are up in arms over the “betrayal” by the government that has hiked the bus fare of nine classes of stage carriers operating in the State.

“We have been betrayed as the bus fare and bus concession of students, who constitute 40 per cent of the passengers in private buses, have not been revised,” Private Bus Operators’ Confederation chairman Lawerence Babu told The Hindu over telephone from Kannur.

With the students’ bus fare left untouched at Re.1, the private operators would get from them only one-seventh of the revised minimum fare that had gone up to Rs.7 in ordinary, mofussil, town, and city services, Mr. Babu said.

Moreover, the price of diesel had gone up by Rs.3 after the Justice Ramachandran Committee submitted its report in December last. “How will we run the buses with the prices going up by 50 paise a month for a litre of diesel?” he said.

Mr. Babu said the fare hike was aimed at protecting the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), and would result in the “slow death” of the private bus industry.

The confederation had decided to meet soon to chalk out an action plan, he said.

The private bus operators had urged the committee to increase the minimum fare to Rs.8.

The cash-strapped KSRTC had also demanded an increase in bus fare to offset the rising cost of diesel as the utility was buying the fuel at market rates from private pumps.

Additional revenue

Meanwhile, the increase in fares has come as a respite for the KSRTC, which is finding it difficult to pay salary, wages, and pension. Minister for Transport Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the KSRTC would get an additional revenue of Rs.50 lakh daily once the bus fares went up.

The corporation, which had a monthly revenue-expenditure gap of Rs.93 crore now, would get Rs.15 crore as additional income from ticket sales, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2018 8:42:29 PM |