Bus fares in Tamil Nadu hiked after 6 years, govt says move was long overdue
Bus fares in Tamil Nadu hiked after 6 years, govt says move was long overdue

Bus fares in Tamil Nadu hiked after 6 years, govt says move was long overdue

Deputy CM O Panneerselvam pointed out that despite the hike, bus fares in Tamil Nadu were cheaper than neighbouring states.

Less than two weeks after the transport workers strike crippled commuters in Tamil Nadu, the state government announced on Saturday night that bus ticket prices have been hiked.

Citing various reasons for the hike, the government order reads, "There has been a considerable hike in the process of oil and petroleum products. The cost of spares and accessories of motor vehicles has also increased. There is considerable increase in the operational expenses of bus transportation in the State and increase in staff cost due to Dearness Allowance, wage settlement necessitating the revision of Bus fare structure.”

The increase in fares is applicable to all public and private buses in the state, including those that ply locally, between cities and towns. The revised fares will be in effect from January 20. While the revision of fares in public buses is between Rs 1 in ordinary service for 10 km to Rs 7 in express service for 30 km, those using private buses will have to shell out more. The rates for Volvo buses has increased from Rs 33 to Rs 51, with rates steadily increasing for the air conditioned, ultra deluxe and super deluxe categories. For night services, the ordinary fares are doubled.

Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam pointed out to the press that even after the hike, the fare was lower than neighbouring states.

Speaking to TNM, Additional Chief Secretary to Government for the Transport Department, PWC Davidar, said, “The corporation has been running on a Rs 9 crore loss every day. When you have an organization like that, it eats into other sectors. Financially, you are not sustainable. We have not been able to buy new buses. More than 60 to 70% of our fleets is over six-and-a-half years old. All the staff is paid take home salaries, but the rest of the emoluments, which are deducted into other accounts, are compromised.”

On the additional cess levied for accident prevention, he says, “There are major expenditures that occur every month, like accident compensation and toll fees. Together, this works out to about Rs 40 crore. Right now, we are doing it out of the operational revenue from the corporations. We have separated that now. We have earmarked a separate fund for accident compensation, prevention and toll fees.

Addressing the inevitability of the revision, Davidar says, “The fact is that this was long overdue. And we’ve been preparing (for this) for many months. The government has been looking at different models of what can be done. We couldn’t have sustained this any longer.”

Beginning on January 4, bus drivers across the state, belonging to various unions of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation had gone on strike demanding a 2.57% hike in wages as well as the emoluments that had been long overdue to them. With the government not willing to raise the hike over 2.44%, the Madras High Court had to arbitrate between the two parties. Bus drivers across the state resumed work eight days later, on January 11.

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