Shimla, Jul 11, 2020
HP State Government decided to hike the bus fare by 25 percent in wake of swelling fuel prices across the country. The decision to increase the fare was taken in the council of Minister meeting held last evening stated a Government official. Cabinet gave nod to hike the fare of carriages last evening as the agenda was in the list of meeting transport minister Govind Singh Thakur confirmed to media persons.
The state government had allowed public transport to resume from June 1 with 60 per cent capacity to follow the social distancing norms. However the entire private fleet of buses remained missing from the road despite government’s decision to allow the transport. The private public transport operators found it nonviable to run business with only 60 per cent occupancy.
Experts on the subject state that perhaps the State Government decision to hike fare must have come under the pressure of Private bus operators. Even though the hike has been notified at 25 percent sources inform that the private transport lobby was pressing the government to hike it by 50 per cent.
Initially too, the State Government was reluctant to allow 100 percent passengers in buses but after enforcing unlock down -2 the decision was reversed and passengers buses with full capacity were allowed.
It is worthwhile to mention here that it is second hike by the Jai Ram Government in last
two years as bus fares had increased to 24.44% in September 24, 2018.
At present, the fare of ordinary buses in Himachal is Rs 1.12 per km in the plains and Rs 1.75 in the hills. Similarly, the fare of deluxe buses is Rs 1.37 per km in the plains and Rs 2.17 per km in the hills. For Volvo and air-conditioned buses, the fare is Rs 2.74 per km in the plains and Rs 3.62 in the hills. The minimum bus fare is Rs five.
The HRTC has 3,300 buses in its fleet while there are 3,100 private buses in the state. At present, only 800 buses are operation.
Entire stakeholders i.e The General public, Opposition, Congress, CPI(M) and other members of civil society however have opposed the hike in bus fare by 25 per cent and have termed the action burden on the masses in hard time.