PUNE: Private bus operators charge arbitrary fares to passengers during the holiday season. To address this issue, the State government has issued a resolution on the basis of a Bombay High Court directive.
Now, private bus operators will not be allowed to charge more than 50 per cent than the fare charged by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses per kilometre.
As the examinations are over and summer vacations have started, people go on a vacation. Taking advantage of this, private bus operators increase fares by 30 to 50 per cent for long distance journeys. The increase in fares is not implemented not only in Maharashtra but outside the State as well. Sakal Times had published a news item “Private bus operators hike fare” on April 26.
There is a large number of people from Beed, Latur, Nagpur, Osmanabad, Aurangabad, Nashik, Amravati and Jalgaon, who are residing in Pune for jobs, education etc.
Many families go to their hometown after their children’s schools are over. Many of them try hard to book train tickets but don’t get reserved seats. The only option left with them is to travel by private buses.
Considering the increased demand, private bus operators hike fares by 30-50 per cent per passenger. On Saturdays and Sundays, they charge twice the regular fare.
The government has fixed the maximum fare for private buses in the range between 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 festive seasons.
Transport Minister Diwakar Raote on Saturday said the government has decided to fix fares of private and contractual buses to stop the loot of passengers during the holiday season. “Action would be taken against those who are found to be overcharging passengers. Their transport licences will be cancellled,” Raote said.
In April 2012, the Bombay HC had directed the state to fix fares of private buses plying on the contract carriage permit. The public interest litigation was filed by Pune-based social activist Asim Sarode.
The state had asked the city-based Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT) to work out a formula for calculating the maximum fare for private buses. The government stated it has fixed the maximum fare limit to stop financial exploitation of passengers.