Bus fare reduction: Govt aid sought to offset losses

Bus fare reduction: Govt aid sought  to offset losses

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah recommending that the KSRTC and BMTC bus fares be reduced in the range of two to four per cent.

He has also urged the chief minister that the government extend financial assistance to the KSRTC and BMTC for bringing down the fares.

Siddaramiah, who also holds the finance portfolio, has forwarded the minister’s letter to the finance department. In his letter, Reddy has said that KSRTC and BMTC had submitted reports against any reduction in the fares following the decrease in fuel price.

“Though personally I agree that the fares should be brought down, it will result in losses to the transport corporations according to their reports. However, the fares could be reduced by if the Finance department agrees to extend the necessary assistance.”

When contacted, Reddy told Deccan Herald  that the BMTC was facing losses to the tune of Rs 600 crore and KSRTC, Rs 300 crore.

“The  two corporations said that reduction in fares would be a burden on them. But, as diesel prices have come down, we had to consider slashing of the fares," he said.

According to sources, the KSRTC and BMTC in their separate reports to the minister, have stated that their expenses have come down by Rs 138 crore due to the downward revision of fuel prices. However, of this money, Rs 129 crore was being spent on various purposes. Sources from KSRTC said that there will not be price slash of more than three percent. 

The expenses of the corporations have gone up as the salary of as many as 30,000 contract workers had been increased by Rs 3,000 each. Besides, issue of rain coats to 1.20 lakh personnel and payment of dearness allowance have pushed up the spending.

“Hence it is not feasible to reduce the fare only on the ground that the fuel prices have gone down. At best, the fares could be decreased by 1.5 pc,” the corporations are learnt to have stated.

However, Siddaramaiah, during the recently concluded Legislature session in Belagavi, had stated that the government would consider a downward revision of the fare. It is in this background that Reddy has sought assistance from the Finance department.

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