THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Transport Minister Antony Raju on Saturday said the government has agreed in-principle to hike private bus fare. A final call will be taken after holding talks with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
“The fare will be increased, but we will decide later about when it should happen. The hike will be implemented without putting additional burden on passengers. Talks with private bus owners will continue,” Antony told reporters after a meeting with the owners.
He said no final decision has been taken on the bus owners’ demand for fixing Rs 12 as minimum charge. He also said talks will be held with Justice Ramachandran, who heads the panel appointed to study issues in the state’s transport sector, to finalise the fare.
Discrepancies found in the rates in each fare stage in the previous order will be rectified when the new fares are announced. A subcommittee comprising three bus owners has been formed to hold further talks with the government. Private bus owners have demanded raising the minimum fare from Rs 8 to Rs 12, increasing per km fare to Rs 1, hiking minimum student concession to Rs 6 from Rs 1 and non-levy of tax during the pandemic period.
At present, minimum fare in private and KSRTC buses is Rs 8. During the pandemic, the government had hiked the minimum charge to Rs 10 to offset the losses. When the travel ban was lifted and more services were resumed, minimum fare was changed to `8.
Following the government’s decision to increase the private bus fare, the autorickshaw taxi unions have also sought a fare hike. At present, the minimum fare is Rs 25 for auto rickshaws and Rs 175 for taxis.