Mamata govt finally agrees to increase bus fares, owners still not convinced

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Kolkata, Aug 26: After months of resisting threats by bus owners, the Mamata Banerjee government on Monday decided to increase the bus fares in the state. The increase is by Re 1 per stage.

The decision was taken after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met the representatives of six bus owners' organisations. The last time the bus fare was increased in West Bengal was in November 2012.

The minimum fare on common private buses currently is Rs 5 per four kilometre. The minimum distance of 4 kilometres is considered a 'stage'. After 16 kilometres, the fare will be raised by Rs 2 per 4 kilometres.

However, in case of minibuses and buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the increase in the fare will be Re 1 per 3 kilometres. The new fare is likely to be implemented from September 1.

The WB govt had been long resisting the demand to increase the bus fares

State Transport Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said the government would soon form a task force to regulate the bus fares in accordance with the change in the diesel price, a Hindu report said.

State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the bus owners have been asking the government to increase the fares as diesel prices have gone up over the years. He said the government also needed to take notice of the pressure the fare hike would create on the people.

The bus owners, however, said they were not happy with the hike. The bus owners are facing an annual loss of Rs 3.5 lakh a bus, the report said.

The West Bengal government had been resisting the demand by the bus owners for increasing the hike and also warned of legal action. As a result of the dispute over the bus fare hike, more and more vehicles were going off the roads, causing inconvenience to the people.

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