Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Friday said that fares of all state transport utilities, including KSRTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC, will be hiked by 8 per cent from Saturday midnight.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) recently effected a 15 per cent hike in fares.
At a press conference to justify the BMTC fare hike, Reddy said a rollback of the hike was not possible as the company had to recover huge losses incurred due to rising costs of staff maintenance and frequent hikes in diesel prices. According to Kumar Pushkar, director of IT at BMTC, 42 per cent of the total income of Rs 1,982.18 crore in 2013-14 was spent on staff salaries and 35 per cent on procuring high speed diesel.
When asked why the BMTC could not be supported by the state government, Reddy said the state was already burdened with the dues of various departments like the PWD, BBMP and ESCOMs. “As a result, the Chief Minister could not give a lot. The government doesn’t have money to give and `163 crore has been allotted this year for subsidising student passes,” he said.
He added that any increase in financial support from the state government would be passed on to the travellers by way of a fare decrease. “We have asked and will once again request the Chief Minister to exempt BMTC from paying tax as has been the practise for NEKRTC and NWKRTC,” he said. BMTC paid `97.41 crore as Motor Vehicle tax to the government in 2013-14.
Reddy said that while a move to ban private buses plying on routes covered by the state transport was successful in other parts of the state, a similar plan is difficult to implement in Bangalore city.
“Some sort of control has been imposed in Kolar, Mulbagal and other areas. However, these permits have been issued sometime back and I cannot change or modify them,” he said adding that there was a lot of opposition to this move and in some cases even the local RTO refused to give permits to KSRTC buses as a favour to private operators.
Reddy said that there were close to 3,500 buses in the state currently plying without emergency exits. “As many as 100 buses have been seized. It will take us at least a week to show a visible effect. The seized buses are sent to the workshop and the documents are released only after the emergency exists are installed,” he said.
Reacting to demands by bus operators who want the deadline to be extended by three months, Reddy ruled it out and said that they had been given enough time.