CHENNAI: The unceasing price hike of diesel has exacerbated the financial condition of transport corporations that were already facing mounting debts for the past few years.
As many as 19,500 vehicles belonging to eight bus transport corporations ran for 84 lakh km daily in March 2018.
To operate the same distance this month, the transport undertakings require additional Rs 75 to Rs 80 crore for meeting hiked fuel costs. On Sunday, diesel was sold for Rs 93.99 per litre.
The State government had last hiked the bus fare in January 2018, when a litre of diesel cost Rs 65.50.
Between January 2018 and July this year, the cost for running a bus for one km has increased from Rs 13.49 to Rs 16.22, revealed official data sourced by Express.
A significant number of buses were off roads for 16 months due to lockdown and the distance of bus transport allowed also remained low.
If buses have to cover total 85 lakh km daily as it used to three years ago, the transport corporations have to spend Rs 900 crore additional expense for purchasing diesel per annum, revealed the data.
Official sources from the government maintained that bus services are being resumed depending on the public patronage.
“Corporations function as a service sector to cater to the people. Government reimburses revenue earned through the State imposed tax on diesel to corporations,” said a senior official.
A close examination into the data on fuel expenses show that transport corporations’ expenditure stood at Rs 3,629.88 crore in 2013-14 and jumped to Rs 4,140.60 in 2018-19, however, it dipped to 3,860.33 in 2019-20.
The drop in the fuel expenses in 2019, was due to around 5,000 buses being withdrawn from operations that year.
However, officials completely denied it and claimed that fleet strength is 19,500 excluding spare buses.
The eight transport corporations carried over 2.1 crore passengers daily till January 2018. With reduction of fleet capacity and increase in fare, commuters’ patronage dropped to 1.6 crore in 2019 and 1.14 crore in March 2020.
Arumuga Nainar, General Secretary of Transport Employees Federation affiliated to the CITU, said that the government should expedite the recruitment of new drivers and conductors, and accordingly plan to resume all services to increase earnings.
Freight industry skids on rising diesel price
NAMKKAL: Rising diesel price has come as a death blow to freight transport sector, which is already reeling under lack of orders because of the lockdown.
Secretary of State lorry owners federation R Vangli told TNIE ,“The central government is killing the truck industry by increasing fuel prices regularly. We are forced to spend of 60 per cent of income on fuel which is unacceptable.”