Kerala government hikes bus fare by 25 per cent

South India

The Kerala government has brought relief to bus operators, struggling to maintain service with reduced passengers in accordance with COVID-19 social distancing norms, by approving a 25 per cent hike in the bus fare.

The state cabinet retained the minimum charge at Rs.8 but reduced the distance for minimum fare from 5 km to 2.5 km to ensure Rs.10 for travelling the first five kilometres. The operators have been allowed to charge 90 paise for every additional km instead of the previous 70 paise.

This will work out to 25 per cent hike in the bus fares. The Justice Ramachandran Nair Commission appointed to regulate the bus fare had recommended 30 to 50 per cent hike. The revised tariff will be effective from July 2 (Thursday).

The commission had also recommended the government to increase the concession for students to 50 per cent of the to-be revised fare, but the cabinet rejected the recommendation. The bus services suspended during total lockdown period had resumed after government introduced the Unlock relaxations.

However, bus operators expressed their inability to operate buses in accordance with social distancing norms as it caused huge loss to them. The state-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation had suffered a loss of Rs.37 crore after it resumed operation in a limited manner.

The government had increased the basic fare to Rs 12 during lockdown, but reverted it to Rs 8 when relaxations were allowed.

Image Credit: News Minute

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