The Opposition Congress on Thursday claimed that the recent hike in minimum fares for travel by buses, taxis and automobiles in Kerala, which is due to come into force on May 1, will hurt ordinary citizens who rely heavily on public transport and want the government is reconsidering the revised rates.
The Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the State Assembly, VD Satheesan, who claimed that there were several anomalies in the revised rates, urged the state government to reconsider the revised rates and to rectify or remove the anomalies he has pointed out.
Speaking to reporters here, Satheesan said the opposition had in the past suggested the government use 25% of the extra revenue of about Rs 6,000 crore it made from fuel prices to provide subsidies on fuel to public transport, such as state-run and private buses, cars and taxis.
This, he claimed, could have prevented a major tariff increase as has happened now.
Satheesan said the opposition was not against the tariff increase as it was needed following the rise in fuel prices, the increase in tariffs for other commodities and the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on transport and the automotive industry.
However, if fuel subsidies had been granted, an increase in prices as currently practiced would not have been necessary.
During the press conference, he also alleged that maintaining 2.5 kilometers as the minimum distance for the minimum fare on buses was an anomaly in the current scenario.
He said the minimum distance of 2.5 kilometers was introduced during the pandemic to help staged transport services due to low passenger numbers and should have been replaced by the pre-COVID minimum distance of 5 kilometers.
Satheesan claimed that there were several other similar anomalies in the tariff review and therefore the state government must reconsider its decision.
He further claimed that Kerala was the only state in the country where bus fares had increased in this way and compared it to fares in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu where, he said, prices tickets were much lower.
According to a state cabinet decision on Wednesday, the minimum fares for ordinary bus services, including city, town, city circular and city shuttle, would be Rs.10 from the previous Rs.8.
In addition to this, the minimum bus fares of the city rapid services would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 12, for fast passengers and limited stop fast passengers, the minimum fares would be increased from Rs 14 to Rs 15 and for the super fast from Rs 20 to Rs 22, the cabinet had decided.
Express, super express, super air express, super deluxe/semi-sleeper bus services, deluxe/high-tech and air-conditioned (AC) bus services, single-axle services, multi-axle services and Existing low-floor AC bus services will not see any fare increases, he had said.
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)