Telangana RTC bus fares likely to be hiked due to rising diesel prices

Officials said the hike was inevitable to absorb the steep hike in diesel prices in recent months and to overcome the continued losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Telangana RTC bus amid the coronavirus pandemic
A Telangana RTC bus amid the coronavirus pandemic
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The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) is set to hike the bus fares by 25-30 paise per kilometre in view of the increase in diesel prices and continued losses. The proposal to revise the fares was discussed on Sunday, November 8 by transport minister P. Ajay Kumar with TSRTC Chairman Bajireddy Goverdhan, Managing Director VC Sajjanar and other officials. A decision on the proposal will be taken by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The proposal is likely to be placed before the state cabinet at its next meeting.

Goverdhan told reporters that TSRTC had already submitted its proposal for fare hike to the minister but has now amended the same in view of last week's drop in diesel prices. The price of diesel and petrol was reduced by Rs 10 and Rs 5 per litre respectively as the Union government cut the excise duty. The TSRTC chairman said while framing the revised proposal, they ensured that the common man is not overburdened by the hike.

Goverdhan said they discussed the proposed fare hike keeping in view the hike affected by neighbouring states but assured that the increase in TSRTC fares will not be huge. He said the TSRTC will remain in losses even after the hike. According to sources in TSRTC, the proposal is to increase the fare by 25 paise per km for Palle Velugu (rural) services and 30 paise per km for Express and higher services. A similar hike is likely for the city services. The earlier proposal was to increase the fare by 40 paise per km.

Officials of the state-owned transport operator say the hike was inevitable to absorb the steep hike in diesel prices in recent months and to overcome the continued losses. During a meeting with the Chief Minister last month, the officials informed the CM that since diesel price increased by Rs 22 per litre in the last one-and-a-half years, TSRTC had to bear an additional loss of Rs 550 crore. They said along with the increased diesel and petrol prices, the increase in the prices of tyres, tubes and other spare parts of the buses was also pushing RTC into losses. All these increased costs are putting Rs 600 crore additional burden on the corporation, they said.

The TSRTC is reeling under annual losses of Rs 750 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. It is estimated to have suffered losses of Rs 3,000 crore since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out last year. The previous fare hike was in December 2019. The fares were increased by 20 paise per km.

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