Kerala hikes bus fares by 25 per cent due to losses incurred during COVID-19 lockdown

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala government has approved a 25 per cent hike in bus fare as an interim measure to tide over the crisis faced by the public transport system, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minimum bus charge will remain the same at Rs 8 but the fare will be calculated for the first two-and-a-half kilometre travelled instead of five kilometres. Hence it will cost Rs 10 for travelling the first five kilometres. Thereafter a fare of 90 paise will be charged instead of the previous 70 paise.

The hike is based on the recommendations of Justice M Ramachandran Commission. It recommended a 30 per cent to 50 per cent hike in the minimum fare of ordinary service in its interim report (in the wake of COVID-19) and the government has agreed to the hike on June 26.

The commission also recommended the government to increase the concession rate for students to 50 per cent of the to-be revised fare. The concession fare for students remain the same as the cabinet refused any hike in the segment.

The private bus operators have demanded the fare hike to make the service sustainable.

KSRTC has incurred 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.

The private bus operators approached the High Court against the order, but said it is for the government to decide.

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