On Friday, the Tamil Nadu (TN) Government announced a hike in the fares of buses under State run Transport Corporations and private entities. The fares are hiked by 20% to 54.54%. It is said this is the first hike in fares after over six years. Along with the fare hikes, the Government also announced funds for accident compensation and prevention.
Effective from today, the fare hikes are applied for buses like moffusil, city, ordinary, express, deluxe, bypass non stop, ultra deluxe, air conditioned and Volvo modes. The minimum hike comes under the ordinary category with a hike of 20% (Rs. 6 for 10 Km, previously Rs. 5 for 10 Km) and the highest is under the Volvo category with 54.54% (Rs. 54 for 30 Km, previously Rs. 33 for 30 Km.) In town buses, the fare hiked from a minimum of Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 and the maximum from Rs. 12 to Rs. 19.
The TN Government cited a list of excuses for the hike including fuel price, maintenance, annual increment in salaries, pension and purchase of new buses to increase efficiency. The Government further defended the hike stating the last hike in fares was on the 18th of November 2011. The then price of diesel was Rs. 43.10 whereas the recent price is Rs. 65.83. They further stated despite the hike in fares, it is still lower compared to the neighboring States. Since 2000, the Karnataka Government hiked the fares 16 times while Andhra Pradesh and Kerala hiked the fares 8 times.
The Madras High Court said, “With the existing funds and resources, maintenance cost, debt, loss and such other economic factors, the need to revise bus fare appears to be inevitable though it may cause inconvenience.”
The TN Government stated, in the past 7 years they gave Rs. 12,059.17 crores subsidy to the State run Transport Corporations. These corporations have so far incurred a recurring loss of Rs. 20,488 crores.