Private bus fares may go up in State

Minister holds talks with owners’ unions

Published - November 20, 2021 07:46 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Private bus fares in the State are likely to be hiked soon, with Transport Minister Antony Raju indicating that a decision will be taken on the demands put forward by bus owners’ unions without adding much of an extra burden on the public.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Saturday after the second round of talks with the unions, he said the Government was considering the demand for bus charge increase in view of the huge hike in fuel prices.

A coordination committee of various bus owners unions has been demanding an increase in the minimum fare from ₹8 to ₹12 and the rate for students to ₹6. Another demand was permission to charge ₹1 for every additional kilometre and a diesel subsidy. In addition to the fuel price hikes, they had also cited the loss sustained after the COVID-19 outbreak due to extended lockdowns and low numbers of passengers even after the opening up.

“The Government is considering their demand for an increase in bus fare due to the hike in fuel prices. Even they know that the Government cannot approve of all their demands. We will try to take a decision which will not cause much of an extra burden on the public. A decision on the date from which the fares have to be revised will also be taken. Talks will be held with the Ramachandran commission before taking a decision,” said Mr.Raju.

The private bus owners had earlier given a call for a strike on November 9 raising these demands. The strike was averted following last-minute talks chaired by the Minister.

Back then, he had said the Government would consider all the demands and take a decision before November 18. However, a consensus on the minimum fare remained elusive at Saturday’s meeting too and the Government was also not keen on continuing with the tax relaxations it had cleared following the pandemic outbreak.

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