Pune: The Regional Transport Office (RTO), Pune started taking action against private buses on Monday for violating the fare rule. Private buses cannot charge more than 150 per cent of the fare charged by Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses per km. The State government had issued a resolution on April 28 on the basis of a Mumbai High Court directive.
The RTO received complaints against some private bus operators for charging more than the mandated amount and sent notices to eight operators and asked them to send a reply within two days.
Sanjay Raut, Deputy RTO, said, “Travels and private bus operators were charging arbitrary fares during the holiday season. We received complaints from passengers from May 2 to May 14 and we started taking action. These operators were charging more than double the fare from passengers, which is illegal and contempt of court.”
The RTO inspected 518 buses and found 125 guilty of violating the rule. The RTO has seized 32 buses. These vehicles were found plying illegally without pending vehicle tax, fitness certificates, permits and proper documents. These buses were stationed at Swargate ST bus stand, Balewadi PMPML depot and other places. Till late evening, RTO collected Rs 8,84,961, including fines of Rs 1,89,200 and Rs 6,59,761 as vehicle tax.
A large number of people from Beed, Latur, Nagpur, Osmanabad, Aurangabad, Nashik, Amravati and Jalgaon reside in Pune for jobs and education. Many families go to their hometown after their children’s schools closed for the summer vacation. Many of them try hard to book train tickets, but don’t get reserved seats. The only option left is to travel by private buses. Considering the increased demand, private bus operators hike fares by 30 to 50 per cent per passenger.
The government has fixed the maximum fare for private buses in the range between of Rs 69.30/km and Rs 169.86/km, depending on the type of bus. At present, MSRTC operates five types of buses. The fare for these buses ranges between Rs 6.30/km and Rs 15.88/km. While leasing out the whole bus, the fare ranges between Rs 46.20/km and Rs 113.86/km. In the absence of regulations, private bus operators were charging exorbitant fares during the festive seasons.