Kolkata: The state Transport department has issued the notification of the increase in the fare of buses, trams, ferry services and taxis on Friday. The increase comes into effect from Monday.
The state government was compelled to give its nod to increase the fare due to the indifferent attitude of the Centre towards the steep hike in price of diesel. The minimum bus and mini-bus fares would be Rs 7 and Rs 8 respectively.
At the same time, the minimum fare for taxis will increase to Rs 30. One has to pay Rs 30 for the first 2 km and the fare for every additional 0.2 km would be Rs 3. The luggage charge would be Rs 5. In case of air-conditioned meter taxis, one had to pay 25 percent more compared to ordinary meter taxis.
Mamata Banerjee met members of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, an association of private bus owners, after it threatened to go an indefinite strike from 7 June.
The bus syndicate had demanded a minimum hike of ₹3, but finally settled for a rise of ₹1. Currently, the minimum bus fares in Kolkata is ₹6 for standard size buses and ₹7 for small buses. This stands revised at ₹7 and ₹8, respectively. And the taxi fare is now 30rs
According to experts, this is going to be a unique step that the state Transport department would take, thanks to which people would not have to pay more when fuel prices decrease.
Tpan Banerjee, general secretary of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicate, one of the largest public transport bus unions in West Bengal, said: “We will discuss the government’s decision to hike the fare by Re 1 – whether it will be adequate to meet our additional expenses owing to high diesel prices, apart from steep hike in insurance and spare parts, before taking a decision on tomorrow’s strike call.”
Adhikari said the transport department will press in additional government buses to ensure normal services tomorrow in case private operators decide to go ahead with the strike.
The state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari said: “It has been thought to develop a mechanism, based on which the bus fare will get regulated as per the rate of diesel.”
The report will be prepared within a month and has to be submitted for the Chief Minister’s approval. Once the mechanism is in place, the bus fare will go down if the diesel price decreases and it will go up if bus operators have to buy the same at a higher price. But the regulatory commission will not be followed.