Bus fare hike on cards, Karnataka govt may accept proposal

Road transport corporations say no special grants from govt to buy buses, clear staff salaries after Shakti scheme rollout
Image used for representative purposes only
Image used for representative purposes onlyFile photo | EPS

BENGALURU: As the price of diesel, spareparts and other components has risen as also the salaries of employees, the cost of operating road transport corporation (RTC) buses has shot up. This, amid the absence of any special grants from the state government after the rollout of the Shakti scheme, which allows women to travel free in state-run transport corporation buses. Now, the RTCs are getting ready to increase the ticket fares. The last time the ticket price was increased was in 2020. But a lot has changed since then. Take the example of diesel. It was Rs 61 per litre in 2020, but it has gone up to around Rs 90 now, nearly a 50 per cent increase.

An official from the bus corporation confirmed that they would send a proposal to seek an increase in ticket fares by 25-30 per cent. “We have been constantly urging the state government to increase the ticket fares. Over 45 per cent of our earnings go for diesel, whose price has gone up in the last four years. Earlier, we spent Rs 3 crore per day, but now we have to shell out over Rs 5 crore. How can we manage our financial resources,” he asked.

“Like how highway tolls are increased annually by the National Highways Authority of India in line with the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), bus corporations too have a formula. If we consider the salaries that have gone up by 20 per cent, the diesel cost that has gone up by 46 per cent and the cost of spare parts and others, the ticket fare has to be hiked by nearly 40 per cent. But we are a public bus corporation and our priority is not to make profits, but to serve the people. We don’t want to increase the ticket fares so high that it would buren the people,” he added.

He was certain that the government would approve the proposal this year. “Every year in the budget, we used to get special grants to purchase new buses, clear salaries of employees, for buildings and others. But after the Shakti scheme, the government is not giving any grants and we have to run our corporations with only the revenue we generate,” he added.

While the proposal for the hike would be 25-30 per cent, the government could accept an increase of 15-20 per cent, he admitted. Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy confirmed that a fare hike is on the cards. “We are yet to receive the proposal from the bus corporations as all were held up with election duty. They will send it soon. The cost of fuel and spare parts has gone up. A nominal fare hike is inevitable,” he added.

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