Travelling on private buses in Karnataka to soon get heavy on pocket

Sources say the Department had earlier recommended to the government to fix fares for contract carriage buses but the proposal is still pending due to resistance from private lobbies.

Passengers travelling in stage carriage private buses in the state may soon have to pay more as the transport department has decided to fix minimum fares for them. This is the first time the department is fixing minimum fares for stage carriage private buses.

It has also decided to revise the maximum fares of stage carriage buses that were fixed in 2013. However, the department is unlikely to fix fares for contract carriage private buses that carry passengers from one point to another.

Stage carriers can pick up individual passengers from various points by issuing individual tickets. However, private stage carriage buses are not permitted to operate on routes notified as nationalised routes where KSRTC has a monopoly.

“We will come up with three categories of fares for stage carriages – city limits, beyond city limits and inter-city. We are also analysing the operational cost of private bus operators to arrive at a fare structure. We will soon send the proposal to the government for approval,” said a senior transport official.

He claimed that minimum fare for private buses is the first in the country. “KSRTC will also have to follow the revised fare structure in places that are not notified as nationalised routes,” he said.

Sources say Transport Department’s move is mainly due to the pressure from a section of private bus lobby opposing KSRTC’s less fare in selected routes.

However, Competition Commission of India recently rejected a complaint alleging that KSRTC was harassing private bus operators by charging less fares under flexi rate scheme.

Commuters in places like Mangaluru, Udupi, Madikeri, Chamarajanagar, Tumkur,  Shivamogga, Davanagere, Kolar, Chitradurga, Ramanagara, Mandya and parts of Mysuru are mostly dependent on stage carriage private buses where there are no nationalised routes.

Many commuters say government has succumbed to pressure by private operators and politicians.

 “Transport department is not taking any action against private contract carriage buses who fleece passengers during festive seasons and weekends. There is no need to fix minimum fares for buses as it will increase the fare and affect thousands of passengers,” said Raj Kumar, a regular commuter in Udupi.

Sources say the Department had earlier recommended to the government to fix fares for contract carriage buses but the proposal is still pending due to resistance from private lobbies. On the other hand, private operators claim that they are facing severe operational losses because of the steep rise in diesel price, toll charges, prices of spare parts, insurance premium and motor vehicle tax.

What are stage carrier buses ?

Stage carrier buses can pick up individual passengers from various points by issuing individual tickets. However, private stage carriage buses are not permitted to operate on routes notified as nationalised routes where KSRTC has a monopoly.

Places where stage carriage buses are popular in Karnataka:

Mangaluru, Udupi, Madikeri, Chamarajanagar, Tumkur,  Shivamogga, Davanagere, Kolar, Chitradurga, Ramanagara, Mandya and parts of Mysuru.

SOURCEnewindianexpress
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