High diesel prices to make bus travel costly

High diesel prices to make bus travel costly

Transport Minister D C Thammanna said a hike in bus fares has become "inevitable".

The state-run road transport corporations, including BMTC and KSRTC, are likely to hike bus fares soon following a rise in fuel prices.

Transport Minister D C Thammanna on Tuesday said a hike in bus fares has become “inevitable”, owing to the periodic rise in fuel prices. The department will announce a decision to this effect in a week’s time, after obtaining the green signal from Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

The four public transport corporations (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Northeast Karnataka RTC and Northwest Karnataka RTC) had proposed a hike of 18% to 20%, in the first week of July. The government, which was just a month old in office, however, kept the proposal in abeyance. But the government’s indecision is taking a heavy toll on these corporations.

Thammanna said that the corporations had incurred losses of Rs 186 crore in the past three months. While KSRTC, NEKRTC and NWKRTC have proposed a hike of 15 to 18%, BMTC has sought a hike of 18 to 20%.  

Bus fares were last hiked (7.97%) in May 2014 when diesel prices had hit Rs 59.59 per litre. The fares were however brought down by 2% in January 2015 when diesel prices came down considerably.

As on September 1, the diesel price stood at Rs 70.14 per litre. There is an increase of more than Rs 10.50 per litre in the last four years. KSRTC alone uses 6.10 lakh litres of diesel every day.  

Free bus pass

Thammanna also said that the confusion over the issue of free bus passes to students would be resolved in a week’s time. He, however, hinted that free bus passes might be issued only from the next academic year. The minister also said that the amount set aside under the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and Scheduled Tribe Sub-Plan for SC/ST students had been increased from 25% to 50%. While the government will bear 50% of the fare burden, the Social Welfare Department will bear the remaining 50%, said the minister.

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