Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Faced with mounting operational costs and the need to expand its fleet of vehicles, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has announced plans to increase bus fares very soon.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Managing Director of APSRTC V. Dinesh Reddy said that there was no across-the-board increase in fares since 2003 (though fares for some services were raised in 2006) whereas the price of diesel and other inputs was on the rise.

Without spelling out the quantum of the fare hike, he sought to soften the blow by saying that rural passengers would not be affected. Passengers travelling in the 10,200-odd ‘Palle Velugu’ buses that operate in the rural areas would not have to pay more.

In effect, the fares of high-end services like Meghdoot, Super Luxury and Garuda would be increased, besides city services.

A final decision on the extent of fare revision would be taken at the meeting of the APSRTC Board of Directors scheduled for October 22. Mr. Reddy said with the new initiatives to improve efficiency and a motivated 1.20 lakh workforce, APSRTC had registered a never-before occupancy ratio (OR) averaging 72 per cent.

New buses

The MD announced that over 3,000 new buses would be added to the fleet by the end of the current fiscal apart from hiring 1,100 buses.

Already, 963 new buses had been introduced, 1,000 more were in the pipeline. These apart, the Board had given the nod for purchasing 1,000 more new buses.

Asked about the criticism over increase in fares for festival specials, he said Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had since asked the APSRTC not to raise the fares. Those who had booked tickets in advance could claim a refund.

On the question of passengers being inconvenienced because of the Transport Department’s drive against private operators, Mr. Reddy said the corporation had pressed into service more than the required number of buses.

More In: Today's Paper