CHENNAI: Higher ticket fares in the conductorless buses are burning holes in pockets of commuters.
The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations introduced new buses under higher fare category replacing ordinary services. This means the fares in the new buses are calculated at a rate of 85 paise per km (super deluxe), as against 58 paise per km for ordinary bus services. As a result, commuters are forced to pay 27 paise more for every km.
This has been met with strong opposition from some commuters. “About 34 services have been converted as conductorless buses between Chennai and Vellore. These buses collect Rs 128 a ticket for travelling between Chennai and Vellore while the fare is just Rs 89 in ordinary buses. For a family of four, we have to spend Rs 156 more for a trip,” said K Mugilan, a native of Sathuvachari.
‘Timings remain unchanged’
Similarly, ticket fare between Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli in One-to-One Express bus has increased to Rs 50 a ticket, as against the earlier fare of Rs 31. “The new buses introduced are as per the timings of ordinary bus services in Thoothukudi. Private buses operated on the same route collect Rs 36, but cover the distance in much less time than government buses. Introducing conductorless buses with higher fares is an ill-advised decision,” said another commuter K Mayilvannan, of Tirunelveli.
Senior trade union office-bearers opined that the new buses would attract commuters only if they were given as replacements for existing services. “The fare hike already had reduced commuter patronage by more than 25 lakh. The government should introduce new buses at ordinary fares,” said a senior member of Tamil Nadu Transport Employees Federation.
When contacted, transport officials claimed that ordinary services have not been reduced.
“The new buses have received overwhelming patronage as the travel time has reduced in all the sections,” said an official.
231 conductorless buses operated, replacing ordinary services
Bus fares in the new buses charged at 85 paise per km (super deluxe), as against 58 paise per km in ordinary buses
About 8000 private buses operated across the state
Private buses cover the distance at the same time as that of government buses, but charge ordinary fare