BEST hikes bus fares

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SummaryThe increase will be effective April next year.

The increase will be effective April next year.

After taxis and auto-rickshaws, travelling on BEST buses is also set to become expensive.

The BEST committee approved on Thursday a fare hike effective April 2013.

The hike will be Re 1 for the first and second stages of journeys on non-AC buses and Rs 5 for AC ones.

BEST expects to earn an additional Rs 60 crore after the hike as nearly 35 per cent of passengers alight after first and second stages of journeys.

The BEST committee meeting also approved a 3-4 per cent increase in power tariff.

“The transport hike is primarily because of increase in prices of diesel and CNG. The cost of maintaining buses has also gone up marginally. However, BEST buses remain one of most convenient and affordable modes of public transport,” said Shiv Sena member Sunil Ganacharya.

“As far as the hike in power tariff goes, that is in the hands of Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission,” he said.

While the ruling Sena-BJP approved the hike, Congress and MNS opposed it and staged a walkout.

“This increase is unjustified. Only six months ago, there was a fare hike. It is not that the buses will offer additional facilities. As far as diesel and CNG prices are concerned, that is a universal problem and there are better ways to tackle it,” said Ravi Raja of Congress.

The committee noted the 272 AC buses were causing a loss of approximately Rs 100 crore every year.

BEST general manager O P Gupta said, “Our power rates are the lowest in the state and one should accept the budget.”

It was also decided to withdraw 300 buses to decongest roads and depots. No replacements will be purchased.

“Many buses, which have anyway crossed the threshold period of 15 years, are lying unused in depots as there is too much road traffic,” Ganacharya said.

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