An 18 per cent hike in bus fares of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) will come into effect from midnight today. An MSRTC statement said fares were hiked due to unavoidable circumstances resulting out of rising fuel prices and employees' wage bills. Earlier, on June 6, while announcing the fare hike, state Transport Minister Diwakar Raote had said that MSRTC's expenditure had increased by Rs 460 crore annually due to rising fuel prices. He had also informed that a recent wage hike for the undertaking's employees had put an additional burden of Rs 4,849 crore on the corporation. A section of the state-run undertaking's employees had struck work on June 8 demanding an immediate pay hike. The transport undertaking has around 17,500 buses in its fleet and makes 56,756 trips every day. While it has an annual turnover of around Rs 7,000 crore, it also incurs losses to the tune of Rs 2 crore every day.