Govt likely to hike fare of DTC buses

The latest review of the performance and financial results of the Delhi Transport Corporation tabled in the Assembly have pointed to the need to consider a fare revision for bailing out the loss-making public transporter.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in his budget proposal for 2015-16 made a provision of Rs 1,084 crore to meet the working losses of DTC, however, it remains to be seen if the AAP government would bite the bullet on fare revision.

The DTC’s performance review tabled in the House in the Budget session has noted: “The Corporation is incurring losses since its inception partly due to economic fare structure, issuance of various concessional passes to different sections of society and partly due to increase in input cost.”

The profit and loss account and balance sheet for the year ending March 31, 2014 also highlighted the delay in revision of the fare structure.

“The fare revision of the Corporation is approved by the government. The current fare structure was last revised on November 3, 2009,” said the document.

As per Road Transport Corporation Act 1950, the main motto of the Corporation is to provide or secure or promote efficient, adequate, economical and properly co-ordinated road transport service in the state.

“Under Section 22 of Chapter-IV (finance, accounts and audit) of the Act, the general principle of the Corporation is that in carrying on the functioning it shall act on business principles,” said the latest balance sheet.

Sources in the transport department said political compulsions have prevented the previous Delhi governments from ordering a fare revision for public transport buses.

“Similar pressure for a fare hike in Metro has also been resisted by political functionaries for a few years now,” said an official.

“The big challenge is to ensure that the mission of making public transport buses popular does not suffer from commuter repulsion if the fares are hiked,” he said.

Sisodia admitted in his Budget speech that the city needs a better public transport system to make the city congestion and pollution free.

“A smart city is one which disseminates information about travel and traffic so that they can plan their trips,” he said, promising a smart phone application through which commuters can get details of location, seat availability and schedule of DTC and private-run cluster buses.

The Deputy Chief Minister also quoted in the House Enrique Penalosa, former the mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and an advocate for sustainability and mobility in cities “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It is where the rich use public transport”.

The government has decided to procure 1,380 semi-low floor buses, 500 midi buses under the DTC and around 1,000 more buses under the cluster scheme by the end of 2016.
Sisodia also hinted at a reserved lane mechanism for faster movement of public transport buses. “We need to give buses special right of way so that the movement of buses is unimpeded and smooth,” he told the Assembly.

Around 40 lakh commuters travel by around 6,000 buses operated by the DTC and clusters. The government has set aside Rs 5,085 crore, an increase of 23 per cent over last fiscal.
DH News Service

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