The government has allowed the movement of non-AC buses within the state while retaining curbs on the interstate bus travel.
Bus fares in Himachal Pradesh may go up soon as the state government is considering a proposal in this regard, Transport Minister Govind Singh Thakur said on Saturday. A final decision is, however, yet to be taken, he told PTI. Bus service within the state resumed on June 1 after a gap of over two months. It was suspended on March 22 as the state went into a lockdown to check the coronavirus spread.
The government has allowed the movement of non-AC buses within the state while retaining curbs on the interstate bus travel. While the state government-run Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) is running its buses within the state, private bus operators have stopped services and demanded a fare hike.
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According to them, it is not economically viable for them to run buses with 60 per cent capacity as has been fixed by the government to the check spread of coronavirus. Further the rate of diesel has gone up, they added.
Meanwhile, the general secretary of the Private Bus Operators Association, Ramesh Kamal, said the transport minister assured them that a decision on hiking bus fares would be taken in the next cabinet meeting Bus fares were hiked in the state by around 25 per cent two years ago.
The fare of ordinary buses was then hiked to Rs 1.12 from 90 paise per kilometre (24.44 per cent increase) in the plains and Rs 1.75 from Rs 1.45 per km (20.69 per cent increase) in the hills.
Similarly, the fare of deluxe buses was hiked to Rs 1.37 from Rs 1.10 per km (24.44 per cent increase) in the plains, and Rs 2.17 from Rs 1.80 per km (20.69 per cent increase) in the hilly areas.
In the air-conditioned buses, the fare was hiked to Rs 2.74 from Rs 2.20 per km (24.44 per cent increase) in the plain areas, and Rs 3.62 from Rs 3 per km (20.69 per cent increase) in the hilly areas The minimum bus fare was then fixed at Rs 6.