The strike by bus owners is imminent if government does not agree to hike the fares,” said a bus owner. “It seems unlikely now because of by-elections,” commented an official
The bus transport that opened after five months of lockdown is expected to shut down again. This time, it is due to demand raised by Bus Owners’ Association.
The Bus Owners’ Association has been urging the state government to hike the fares but government hasn’t responded to their demand yet. Prime Route Bus Association president Govind Sharma said passenger traffic is too low because of Covid and buses are running in losses.
“We have already asked government to hike fare by 60% but not agreement has been reached in the meeting of Fare Committee. We cannot bear the loss anymore and if government does not take decision by October 15, we will stop plying busses,” Sharma said.
A meeting of Fare Committee was held in September at the state secretariat but was not conclusive. The bus owners had demanded a hike of 60% in fares but government didn’t agree on such steep hike and the meeting remained inconclusive.
The buses stopped plying from March 22 because of Covid imposed lockdown. On September 4, Shivraj government waived taxes of five and a half months after which buses started plying.
Now, the bus owners say traffic is down because of Corona and they do not get more than 20% occupancy resulting in huge losses. Moreover, cost of diesel, spare parts, tyres etc has gone up phenomenally, causing losses up to Rs 10,000 per day.
A section of bus operators has also questioned working of Fare Committee. They say the Committee takes decision without taking stakeholders into confidence.
“The strike by bus owners is imminent if government does not agree to hike the fares,” said a bus owner. “It seems unlikely now because of by-elections,” commented an official.