Govt has approved 20% hike in bus fares: Desai


The government has agreed to the request of all bus owner associations and approved 20 per cent hike in fares of the stage-carriage buses including KTC buses, which will be made effective from April 1, however, other demands of the private bus owners have been approved in-principal, informed the director of transport, Mr Arun Desai.
As per the revised fare — Panaji-Old Goa fare would be Rs 12 from existing Rs10, Panaji-Cortalim Rs 16 from Rs 13, Margao-Sanvordem Rs 20 from Rs 17, Panaji-Ponda Rs 24 from Rs 21, Panaji-Sanquelim Rs 24 from Rs 21, Panaji-Margao and Vasco Rs 26 from Rs 22.
Speaking at the press meet, Mr Desai said that the earlier hike was notified in November 2011, at the rate of Rs 5 for the first 3 kms, and 75 paise for the subsequent kms. Now, the tariff has been enhanced to Rs 8 for first 4 kms with further increment from 75 paise to 80 paise from 4.1 kms till 9.9 kms and 65 paise per km from 10 km onwards, he added.
The hike has a rider that at any given stage if the revised fare exceeds 30 per cent of the existing fare then it is to be brought down to 30 per cent, he said explaining that Panaji to Bambolim distance is 5 kms and the fare as per the new hike which is Rs 8.80  rounds up to Rs 9, however, it is 50 per cent hike against the existing fare of Rs 6 and so considering the rider the buses will be allowed to charge Rs 8 only.  
100 per cent hike is not reasonable, however, the government has protected the interest of the commuters by increasing the fare simultaneously with the increase in the kilometers, he added.
One of the associations had demanded to appoint its member to RTA and STA, Mr Desai said adding it has been rejected as the MV Act prohibits member who is an operator or having interest in transport.
RTA and STA are regulatory bodies and one cannot be a regulator and operator at the same time, he stressed.
Over the acceptance of bus owners’ demands, Mr Desai revealed that all the demands are agreed to in-principal, however, the Directorate of Transport will be formulating a scheme, which will take approximately 2 months time and put it up before the government  for its approval. He said that the demand on issuance of e-ticket machine has been agreed to in-principal on a monthly installment, adding an insurance scheme for the drivers and conductors would be implemented on 50-50 basis wherein the transport department will pay 50 per cent of the amount, while the other 50 per cent will have to be paid by the beneficiaries.
Pertaining to demand on tyres and compensation to offset  concession given to students and some other expenditure, he said it has been approved in-principal to give subsidies based on kilometers with no individual subsidy on tyres and other expenditure.
He also maintained that the government would be seriously considering compensation for the bus operators if all the associations agreed to honor the passes issued by the government, which is being presently done by  the Kadamba Transport Corporation Ltd.
When questioned about the revision of fares for rickshaw and yellow and black motorcycles,  Mr Desai said that no fare hike has been taken into consideration as there is no hike in petrol price, however, during the last meeting, they have submitted a fare structure which we have to vet and put it before the government.
Meanwhile, they have been asked to start point to point fare service, he added.
“Decision on digital meter is under consideration as the stakeholders have inherent problems, although in Mumbai and Hubli, digital meters for rickshaws have been made mandatory for the past 6 months,” he added. [NT]