Bus operators denounce ban on standing travel

The All Kerala Bus Operators Organisation has denounced the State government’s decision banning standing travel in buses as impractical and not financially viable.

Passengers occupy almost all seats in buses at bus stations. Curbs on standing travel will adversely affect passengers awaiting buses at bus stops. Avoiding students depending on buses to attend examinations and office-goers / workers will give rise to criticism and even conflict with passengers, said T. Gopinathan, general secretary of the organisation.

He added that all private buses would have to pay quarterly tax from April. Twenty-five per cent of the tax is for passengers who stand and travel. In this circumstance, the government must take a relook at its stand that tax discounts are not possible since the model code of conduct for polls is in force.

Bus operators in the State are in neck-deep in crisis owing to the skyrocketing fuel price. The fear over the second wave of COVID-19 has led to a drop in patronage. Around a dozen people stand and travel only during morning and evening peak hours. The government’s stand that it cannot be allowed will lead to a situation where buses will have to keep away from the road, he said.

The government must take a relook at its decision to continue permitting students to travel at as low as ₹1 concession. It must also waive tax on diesel purchased by private bus operators, the organisation said. Other bus operator bodies too have been airing similar demands, citing the government subsidising Kochi metro operations to the tune of around ₹1 crore a day.

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Printable version | May 8, 2021 7:20:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/bus-operators-denounce-ban-on-standing-travel/article34353383.ece

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