BENGALURU: The state government has decided not to cut bus fares now, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said here on Wednesday. Reddy backed officials who had opposed the cut because of the huge financial burden it would impose on state-run transport corporations.
Reddy told reporters that the recent fall in diesel prices would result in savings of `137.40 crore from November to March next year, additional expenditure on staff costs would take away almost all of this amount leaving only `8.30 crore for all the four corporations (BMTC, KSRTC, NWKRTC, and NEKRTC).
“If we reduce prices, our financial burden will increase because of rising loan payments. There are many staff costs.We are not in a position to reduce fares,” he said. However, the Minister said he would present the information to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah soon, who will take the final call.
“If the CM suggests that we make reductions, we will follow his directions. He is out of town right now and we will speak to him once he returns,” he said.
He said all the corporations are trying hard to cut down expenditure. “We have not bought premium buses since I took charge. We have fine-tuned several services and stopped services on non-performing routes. We are currently testing the hybrid bus and have not made any purchase decisions as well. BMTC itself has around `600-crore debt,” Reddy said.
Liabilities for all four corporations have reduced in the past one year with KSRTC now having `101.96 crore of liabilities compared to `187.42 crore last year, he said. This figure includes only employee liabilities like salaries, employer contribution to PF and money owed to suppliers.
BMTC is the worst performer of the lot with liabilities decreasing only by around `4 crore to `264.18 crore in the past one and a half years. The employer contribution towards PF has actually increased from `88.03 crore to `110.56 crore, he said.
According BMTC MD Ekroop Caur, 42 per cent of all expenses of the corporation go towards staff expenses. Diesel is the next big cost at 35 per cent followed by Motor Vehicle Tax at five per cent.
“We will request the Centre for exemption on Motor Vehicle Tax for our buses,” Reddy said. This move can result in KSRTC saving `160 crore and BMTC `105 crore.
Meanwhile, the Bangalore Bus Prayanikara Vedike on Wednesday joined the list of organisations demanding a fare reduction. In a statement, the BBPV has stated that fares should be reduced by at least 50 paise per km and `5 for 10 km, `15 for 11-20 km and ` 25 for 20 km and above. Its other demands include free bus passes to workers who earn less than the prescribed minimum wages and providing monthly passes at `250.