Stating that the hike in RTC bus fares was unavoidable, transport minister Botcha Satyanarayana said it will not be a burden on common man.
Speaking to reporters here on Monday, the minister said 50 percent of the 1.3 crore commuters, who travel in RTC buses daily, use Palle Velugu buses to reach their destinations within 50 km. For the first 25 km, the fare hike is only Rs 1, and Rs 2 for the first 45 km whereas it is Rs 3 for the first 50 km, he added.
The bus fares for delux buses were increased by 10 paise per km for deluxe buses in which only 1.9 percent of total passengers travelled daily. For the express buses (used by 12.8 percent commuters), the hike was 10 paise per km and 12 paise a km for the super luxury buses, which are used by 1.65 percent commuters, Botcha said. He said this was the third hike in RTC fares after 2004 while the fares were increased eight times during the TDP regime.
RTC vying with Private Operators
The minister said the fare would be flexible for Garuda plus, Garuda, Vennela and Indra services. The fares would be reduced for these services during the off-season. As the private bus operators were reducing fares during off-season, the RTC's fares were high, and thus it lost money. The RTC too have been mulling over this flexible rates for AC buses, the minister said, adding that it would benefit the RTC as well as passengers.
VAT Exemption will Benefit RTC
The RTC, which uses 56,000 crore liters diesel every year, has been paying 22.5 percent VAT on diesel, that comes around Rs 400 crore annually. If the VAT is exempted, the largest public sector fleet will become profitable. The transport minister said he has asked the officials to send a file related to VAT to the government for a decision in this direction. The minister said when the diesel price was increased by Re 1, the RTC had to shell out `67 crore.