Following the diesel price hike of Rs five by oil companies and with the transportation sector moving towards a crisis, the State Government will increase the bus charges after consultation with those concerned.
The State-owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) too is running at a loss with the diesel price hike. The State Government, however, will take a final decision only after the stalemate at the Centre is over, with Trinamool Congress leader Mamatha Banerjee threatening to withdraw the Ministers if there is no roll back in the diesel price hike. Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed said that the bus fare hike was imminent due to the hike in the price of diesel.
However, the date of the hike has not been announced yet as it has to be discussed at the Cabinet meeting.
A meeting with the private bus operators has been scheduled here for Wednesday. The demands of the bus operators will be considered and the amount to be hiked will be decided later.
KSRTC chairman and managing director K G Mohanlal said that an additional `6.5 crore had to be spent for operating the bus services daily. The loss to KSRTC was around Rs 100 to 120 crore a year.
He said that a hike in ticket fare had to be worked out to meet the extra expenditure. The report of the estimated loss and the fare of each category of buses would be submitted to the government he said. It is learnt that the government is likely to increase the minimum charge by one rupee and subsequent increase for other stages. The minimum fare for fast passenger buses will be increased from `10 to `12.
Kerala State Private Bus Operators Federation president N P Sathyan said that an additional `400 was needed for operating a bus daily following the recent diesel price hike. The prices of oil, tyres and rubber thread will also increase in the coming days which would lead to another increase of `350 a day. Federation has demanded to raise the minimum fare to `7 and students concession to 50 per cent of the minimum fare.