VIJAYAWADA: Though transport department has permitted private bus operators to resume operations under Unlock 1.0, many of them are reluctant. Reason: the operators are not in a position to pay quarterly tax (April-June) following stoppage of bus services during the lockdown.
In all, the State has around 2,000 contract carriage buses and 1,500 tourist buses and all private bus operators stopped their services since March 24, affecting 30,000 directly or indirectly. Unable to meet expenses, several drivers and other staff are searching for alternate jobs,” V Ravindra Kumar, proprietor of Ravindra Tours and Travels, said.This apart, the spiralling diesel prices added to their woes, forcing them not to ply buses till August-end, seeking quarterly tax exemption. The operators fear there would be no viability, unless they are allowed to enhance the ticket fare. They said the State government should waive the quarterly tax and pay the full insurance premium for all the buses. Speaking to TNIE, G Malli Babu, a bus operator said, “The sector has been one of the primary victims of COVID- 19 enforced lockdown. Despite relaxations, we are unable to resume our operations on par with APSRTC buses. The corporation continues to operate buses irrespective of passenger occupancy. But the situation is different for us. Passenger occupancy is the bottom line for us.”
The government should waive quarterly tax on the lines of Karnataka, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and pay the full insurance premium. As per norms, each private bus operator should pay `3,770 for each seat as quarterly tax to the government, Kumar said. “The government should allow us to enhance the ticket fare,” he demanded.