Thursday, March 4, 2010

New transport fares announced in House

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Bowing to a long-standing demand of bus operators, which assumed immediacy after the Centre increased customs and excise duties on petroleum products in the Union Budget, the State government has revised bus, autorickshaw and taxi fares.

Transport Minister Jose Thettayil announced the revised rates in the Assembly on Thursday through a statement made under Rule 300 of the procedures relating to the conduct of legislative business.

The Bus Owners Joint Action Council, however, rejected the revision, which will come into effect on Monday, on the ground that the government did not address its main demand for revising the concessional rate for students. The council declared that it would go ahead with its already-announced indefinite strike from March 11.

The Minister said the minimum bus fares were being increased from Rs.3.50 to Rs.4 for ordinary, from Rs.4.50 to Rs.5 for fast passenger, from Rs.8 to Rs.10 for super-fast and Rs.10 to Rs.15 for super express services. The minimum fare would continue to be Rs.20 for super de luxe and semi-sleeper services and Rs.30 for both air-conditioned luxury hi-tech and Volvo services.

The per km rate would go up by 3 paise to 55 paise for ordinary, 2 paise to 57 paise for fast passenger, 2 paise to 60 paise for super-fast, 3 paise to 65 paise for super express, 3 paise to 75 paise for super de luxe and semi-sleeper, 5 paise to 90 paise for air-conditioned luxury hi-tech and 5 paise to 110 paise for Volvo services.

The minimum charge of taxi cars would remain Rs.50 and autorickshaws Rs.10. But the distance covered by the minimum charge had been reduced from 4 km to 3 km for taxis and from 1.5 km to 1.25 km for autorickshaws. The per-km charge had been increased by 50 paise to Rs.7.50 for taxis and by the same rate to Rs.6 for autorickshaws.

The Minister said a committee would be set up to conduct a scientific study into the rounding off of fares while fixing the fare stage, the distance which could be covered at the minimum rate and the steps which should be taken for the survival of the industry.

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