“The sudden rise in bus fare along with the fuel prices is illegal and a burden to common man. The corruption in this field should be tackled,” said Anti-Corruption People’s Movement (ACPM) vice-chairman advocate John Joseph while introducing the topic at an open discussion on bus charge hike organised by the Anti-Corruption People’s Movement (ACPM) in coordination with various trade unions, consumer forum and residents associations at K P Madhavan Nair Memorial Auditorium, Gandhi Bhavan, here on Monday.
P C Cyriac, chairman, ACPM inaugurated the discussion.
Even though the Justice M Ramachandran Commission recommended 58 paise per km, commuters are shelling out Rs 1.20 to Rs 1.50 paise in towns and a minimum of 80 paise for long distance buses. Another problem is the anomaly in fare stages. He suggested three measures to resolve the problem. Either the fare stage system should be scrapped or the distance of fare stage made one-and-a-half kilometre. The minimum charge in town limit should be Rs 3. The minimum charge of `6 for long distance buses can be retained but commuters should be allowed to travel upto 10 km. There are several measures to be implemented which would safeguard the interests of the people and bus owners. The fare stage system should be stopped and distance between the bus stops in rural areas be adjusted according to the bus fare and people should be allowed to travel 10 km in Rs 6.
Residents and District Consumer Protection Forum secretary Roy Thekkan and Residents Association Apex Council representative Kuruvila Mathew said that there were anomalies in fare stage and night services were being curtailed by operators. He also advocated the need for car pooling in the city.
“The current bus fare hike questions the travelling rights of the people and a challenge to the government. With their organising power, the bus operators are exploiting the interests of the unorganised commuters. The private buses should be undertaken by the state government as in the neighbouring states, and it will generate good revenue” said R Reghuraj, BMS district secretary.
M P Sathyan, state president of Private Bus Operators Federation, said the price hike is not enough. The minimum price should have been fixed at Rs 7. The concession for students should be given as subsidy by the government.
The ACPM has decided to hold protest meets of commuters in all districts. Protest meets will be held at the main towns of Ernakulam soon.
M R Rajendran Nair, ACPM vice-chairman, was the moderator.