Bus fares across Andhra Pradesh are set to rise with the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation announcing a marginal hike in fares on Saturday across all bus categories. The state government has also announced that 240 new buses will be added to the fleet by March 2020.
The Andhra Pradesh Transport minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) told media on Saturday that the date when the new fares would come into effect would be announced on Monday. The state government has decided to hike the fares of Palle Velugu and city service buses by 10 paise per kilometre and by 20 paise for other categories.
"The government has decided to enhance the fares with the sole objective of bringing the corporation out of losses. The fare hike became inevitable as the diesel price has been steadily rising since 2015 to reach Rs 70 per litre now," said Nani.
The last time APSRTC hiked bus fares was in 2015 and in 2018, all fares were rationalised by up to Rs 4, except for the fares of Palle Venugu buses, reported TNIE.
At least 23% of the buses being operated in the state were hired buses and the minister has ruled out more hiring of buses. He, however, stated that the licences of the hired buses would be renewed and tenders would be invited soon.
The state government will also be phasing out the buses that have logged more than 12 lakh kilometres and new ones will be acquired. "By March 30 next year, 240 new buses will be added to the APSRTC fleet," said Nani.
The APSRTC in April this year had submitted a report to the then TDP government seeking that enhanced fares by 15 to 17 per cent. The proposed hike in the report was to help the corporation ease its financial burdens. With state assembly elections in May, no action was taken based on the report.
"Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has decided to merge the APSRTC with the government keeping in view the interests of the 54,000-odd employees. At present, the RTC losses stand at Rs 6735 crore and the RTC is incurring Rs 1200-crore loss every year. Apart from this, employees salaries, implementation of Pay Revision Commission (PRC) and other expenses are proving a heavy burden on the corporation," added the minister.
The APSRTC also has pending bank loans worth Rs 2995 crore and pending PRC payment worth Rs 3745 crore. The corporation consumed Rs 30 crore litres of fuel per year but the diesel fuel priced at Rs 50 in 2015 now sells at Rs 75 per litre, the rise in fuel prices has added the burden of Rs 600 to 700 crore on the corporation in the last four years.