People traveling by state-run buses in Tamil Nadu had to shell out more for their tickets from Saturday as the government announced a steep hike in fares to offset mounting losses of the transport corporations.
While in Chennai, the fares were raised in the range of Rs 2 to Rs 9, in other places, it ranged from Rs 2 to Rs 7. The hike was steepest for luxury Volvo buses, which will be costlier by Rs 18, followed by Rs 15 for AC buses and Rs 12 for Deluxe buses.
The hike comes after nearly a week-long strike by transport service staff, who were given higher salaries, adding to the operating costs of the loss-making bus services.
The last hike came in November 2011, under the then-chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who had come to power six months earlier and who did not hesitate to take unpopular but essential decisions that included a hike in milk prices.
The government in a statement said the new fares effective from Saturday morning for mofussil services range from 60 paise to Rs 1.7 per km depending on the category of services.
Even after the hike, bus fares in Tamil Nadu were lower than those in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala, it said.
Committee for Fares Revision
The government also announced that it would set up a committee to revise fares in the future.
The government is working on an indexing method to calculate appropriate fares considering fuel prices, operation and maintenance costs, wages and the like.
The state-run transport corporations have mounted a loss of over Rs 20,000 crore.
The hike comes after an interim order of the Madras high court that observed that fare revision was inevitable.