Anil Kumar Sastry
Bus fares were last revised in June 2005 by an average of 13.8 per cent across the board
BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), the North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and the North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) have justified their demand for fare revision following the increase in diesel price in September.
At the same time, the three corporations need to improve their performance in several operational areas where they are lagging behind other State transport undertakings.
If fares are not revised immediately to neutralise the increase in diesel price and Dearness Allowance paid to employees, the corporations will lose over Rs. 200 crore a year, according to sources in the KSRTC.
Fares were last revised in June 2005 with an average increase of 13.8 per cent across the board. Transport Minister N. Cheluvaraya Swamy has now indicated a fare increase of five to seven per cent. Bus fares in the State are the lowest in the country, barring in Tamil Nadu. The fares in Tamil Nadu have not been revised since December 6, 2001. According to the Association of State Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU), earnings per bus per day in Karnataka are lower than the cost per bus per day. The corresponding figures for the KSRTC, the NWKRTC and the NEKRTC are Rs. 5,616 and Rs. 5,912, Rs. 5,224 and Rs. 5,362 and Rs. 3,969 and Rs. 4,331. KSRTC sources said the corporations had been offsetting operational losses against income from shops and establishments in bus stands.
Data compiled by the ASRTU indicate that the Karnataka State transport undertakings need to improve in several areas of performance. Bus utilisation per day (per bus) is 377 km in NWKRTC, 348 km in KSRTC and 307 km in NEKRTC while the average bus utilisation in Tamil Nadu is 416 km. Tamil Nadu State transport undertakings earn over Rs. 6,400 per bus a day and incur a cost of less than Rs. 6,400 per bus despite having the lowest fares in the country.