The Kerala government announced on Wednesday that bus fares in the state would be hiked. The hike will come into effect from March 1.
The minimum fare was increased to Rs 8 for ordinary services and to Rs 11 for fast passenger services. For executive and super express services, the minimum charge will be Rs 22. Super deluxe services will be priced at a minimum of Rs 30, hi-tech luxury AC services at Rs 44 and AC Volvo at Rs 45, reported Manorama.
The state cabinet approved the fare hike after the recommendations were given by the Justice C Ramachandran panel.
The cabinet has not revised concessional fares that students are entitled to, despite pressure from bus operators to withdraw it.
Private bus operators were unhappy as the government increased the fare by minimum fare only by Rs 1. They were demanding that the minimum fare be raised from Rs 7 to Rs 10.
The rates were last revised by the state government in 2014.
The state-owned KSRTC is also struggling due to higher operating costs, and specifically because of the increase in the price of diesel, reported The Hindu.
The government had convened the meeting after private bus operators federationsâ€™ threatened to go on strike from Thursday to press for the fare hike.
KSRTC pensioners had been on strike from November 2017 after their pensions stopped coming in. Fifteen pensioners reportedly committed suicide after the government stopped paying the pensions. The pensioners called off their strike on February 9 after the state government announced that it would clear all arrears as soon as possible. The government officials then added that the funds will be arranged by taking loans from district cooperative banks and primary cooperative banks.
The arrears the government owes in the form of pensions adds up to a whopping Rs 224 crore.