HYDERABAD: Even as the State government is mulling the idea of increasing TSRTC bus fares, for the third time after formation of Telangana, experts cautioned that the proposal if implemented would have a negative impact on the corporation, which is already struggling with poor occupancy ratio.
The ridership, which is calculated as occupancy ratio, was around 73% during pre-Covid days. For the past couple of months, it is hovering around 60% despite measures adopted by the corporation officials. One of the reasons being the considerable increase in number of private vehicles as people continue to be wary of taking public transport in view of pandemic.
“If fares are increased, this would be the third time officially and fourth time unofficially, after formation of Telananga. When the officials approached earlier this year, the Chief Minister himself rejected the idea of increasing the fares and there is not much of a change, I believe. The occupancy ratio fell almost by 18% and if it is implemented, you will see more private vehicles on road,” cautioned an RTC official.
In Telangana, fares were hiked in 2015 and later hiked once again in 2020 as a fallout of the RTC strike. Besides this, in 2018 too, the TSRTC bus fares rationalised for city routes, citing problems faced by conductors over tendering of change on the tickets. In case the fares are revised, the rise could be around 15% to 20% on the existing basic fares, the official added.
After latest hike which came into effect in 2020, the minimum fare for an ordinary bus is Rs 10. Comparatively, the minimum fare for an ordinary bus in the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) Ltd and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is Rs 5.
The fares being charged by the Delhi Transport Corporation range between Rs 5 and Rs 15. In Mumbai, the authorities focusing on increasing ridership, slashed the fares by 50% around two years ago. “Comparatively, the existing fares are higher when compared to other metro cities. If fares are increased, the ridership will definitely be impacted. It’s a bad idea,” said GSR Chaitanya, a researcher on public transport. “No public bus operator can expect profits. The government needs to focus on other sources of funding,” he added.