The cabinet meeting which will be held tomorrow will discuss on the expert committee’s proposal to hike the minimum bus charge to Rs 5. The expert committee had submitted a report to the government suggesting for a bus fare hike on May 4th.

The committee also suggested the government to approve the proposal in the view of the hike in diesel prices. The report has also suggested for increasing the students’ fare. The government will hold talks with the bus operators on Wednesday.

Private bus operators have threatened to suspend services in the State if the government failed to increase minimum bus fare to Rs.6. A joint meeting of bus operators associations held at Thrissur on Monday demanded increase in the fare for students too.

Here we publishing a request from Mr Pdmanabha Mallaya on behalf of Pashchima Kochi Passenger’s Association.

The ordinary people who rely on the Kerala State Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private buses for travel will be collectively spending about Rs.1,750 crore more if the bus fare hike is made again. Each of the KSRTC buses and private buses would be gaining a minimum average additional income of Rs.750 a day if the increase in fare is made again. This was several times more than the additional cost they would be incurring after the recent fuel price hike.

The need of the hour is to decrease the increased road tax levied on buses. We the passengers request the peoples’ Government in Kerala to please cut the road tax levied on buses and not to make any hike in the bus charge which will be a blow to the average person who is finding very difficult in maintaining a livelihood.

The increase made in the gas cylinders, the spiraling prices of essential commodities make the average person living a burden. Bus passengers in Kerala were already paying 55 paise per km of bus ride. Still it is 28 paise in Tamil Nadu.

The minimum fare in Tamil Nadu was Rs. 2, for which a passenger could travel 4 km. Each bus, on an average day, carried 800 to 900 passengers. Of them, 300 would be minimum-fare passengers. The average additional cost of Rs. 200 per bus a day caused by the diesel fare hike could be more than offset by the proposed bus hike.

The recommendation made by the Fare revision Committee should not be taken into account since the chairman was working for the Bus owners Advocate during good olden days and the passengers did not get any justice from the hearing they had with the passengers. In this connection, the Rabindran Nair Commission and the Sheela Thomas Commission had wanted a minimum fare passenger to be allowed to travel a distance equal to the minimum fare divided by the rate per km. The Rabindran Nair Commission had said in its report, “It seems appropriate to lay down that the minimum charge for ordinary service should not exceed the rate that would be applicable to five kilometres of distance.”

So we, the passengers ask the Government of Kerala to please allow the passengers to travel 5Kms for the minimum distance as enjoyed by them before 1989. Passengers are not against fare-revision but justice should be done to the passengers by allowing them to travel 5Kms for the minimum fare.

Hence, We, the passengers ask the Shri Oommen Chandy, Hon. Chief Minister of Kerala to kindly direct the Transport Department to adhere to the directions given by Sheela Commission Report and Rabindran Commission Report so that the common man who struggle to meet the both ends of life due to spiraling prices of essential commodities and gas price hike will be much benefited. Every passenger should be able to travel 5Kms for the minimum fare.

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