VIJAYAWADA: Finally, the APSRTC has decided to recommend to the government to increase bus fares by 30 per cent to overcome losses. For 2018-19, the Corporation operated buses at a loss of Rs 6.53 for every kilometre and piled up an overall debt burden of Rs 6,455 crore.
“Our losses run into several hundred crores and were at a point where we were even forced to use the employees’ funds. Now, our only option is to increase fares, which we haven’t done since 2015. We hope the people will understand our situation,” explained NV Surendra Babu, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the APSRTC, at a press conference in Vijayawada on Friday.
According to him, for the financial year 2018-19, the APSRTC gross expenditure stood at Rs 7,025.27 crore as against its revenue of Rs 5,995.50 crore. Right from 2015-16, the revenue has increased to a great extent.
But, the expenditure has also increased more than the revenue and, in 2017-18, it reached over Rs 1,400 crore. As a result, the loss stood at Rs 1,205.39 crore and, with a few reforms, officials managed to bring down the loss from Rs 1,205.39 crore to Rs 1,029.77 crore.
“In the last fiscal, our occupancy ratio was 78 per cent, the highest in the country. However, the operational cost of each bus is at an all-time high of Rs 11,208 per day. In a nutshell, the Corporation is incurring a loss of Rs 6.53 every kilometre,” he said and added neighbouring Telangana (TSRTC) is operating buses with a loss of Rs 5.26 per kilometre.
He said loans from various banks like HUDCO, CCS, SBT, and SRBS stood at Rs 3,380 crore. This apart, other liabilities, like provident fund, leave encashment arrears, etc, stood at Rs 3,065 crore.
“Diesel price has increased by over 40 per cent since 2015-16, leaving the Corporation with an additional burden of Rs 600 crore. Apart from this, we have taxes and interest on loans to pay and we have to bear losses from operating Telugu Velugu and city buses. For reimbursement of concessions, purchase of buses, repayment of GG loans, the Sstate government allocated Rs 554.7 crore for 2018-19.
In reality, we need lot more to survive the losses, for buying new buses, payment of loans, clearing arrears, etc. There are also a few other dues from the government for operating buses to Polavaram, meetings and deeksha’s etc.” said Surendra Babu. As of now, there are about 1,666 buses (with 12 lakh km in mileage) that need to be replaced and plans are afoot for purchasing 1,000 new buses. “We need Rs 416.5 crore for replacing old buses and Rs 250 crore to augment our fleet,” he said.
“For RTC to survive, waiver of MV tax for an initial period of five years is badly needed. The government is also requested to compensate the Corporation for the loss suffered on operating Telugu Velugu buses (Rs 750 crore per annum) and provide financial assistance for replacement and augmentation of buses (Rs 500 crore per annum) and grant-in-aid to clear all the existing loans (Rs 500 crore per annum).