Mumbai: BEST plans to hike bus fare to cover its losses, NCP stages protest

Mumbai: The management of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) has planned to hike the bus fare by up to Rs 12 for longer distances. This has been planned in order to cut costs. The decision to hike bus fares was taken during a BEST committee meeting conducted on Tuesday. The hike in bus fare would be implemented once it is approved in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) general body meeting.

Currently, the minimum bus fare is Rs 8 and the plan is to increase it to Rs 12. “There will be a hike in the bus fare for longer routes of more than four kilometers. There is no decision on hike in bus fare for shorter routes at present. The final decision will be taken in a meeting conducted by BMC officials,” said a BEST official.

The plan is to hike the monthly bus pass for students from Rs 150 to Rs 200. The daily pass for the travelling the entire city has also increased from Rs70 to Rs 90. On Wednesday, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers demonstrated a protest against the decision for hike in bus fare. Sachin Ahir, NCP Mumbai unit president, vehemently opposed the move and demanded that the BEST is the lifeline of Mumbaikars and it is an undertaking of the BMC. Hence, the civic corporation must take the responsibility for all losses incurred by the transport body.

Ahir also alleged that the Shiv Sena, ruling party of the BMC is planning to shut down BEST through such decisions. He further alleged that despite BMC owning Rs 60,000 crore in its Fixed Deposit (FD), it is unwilling to help BEST during its financial crisis. The commuters were also unhappy regarding the decision for hike in the bus fare. “Commuters travelling by BEST buses for longer routes of at least 10 kilometer will not be able to afford the price,” said Vaishali Rane, a commuter at Thane.

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