Mangaluru, April 7, 2019: Fares of most of the private buses shot up over the week end due to festive rush, as people made all efforts to reach their hometowns. Most of the operators stuck to the 50% hike - the limit set by the State Transport Authority (STA), though some charged more.
Last month, the STA called a meeting of private bus operators and warned them against hiking the rates beyond 50% of the normal fares. The instruction was given following complaints by the public that they are forced to pay a bomb during weekend rush and festive season.
However, unlike the KSRTC, private buses do not have a base fare. Officials said some private operators were using this loophole in the STA’s argument to charge more than 100%.
A senior official from the regional transport office (RTO) said they were monitoring the fares for violation of the direction. When asked about the Rs 3000 ticket for Mangaluru, he said RTO inspectors were trying to book the ticket, which will be used as evidence for action against the operators.
“We are also trying to book tickets online through app and web interface of some operators and aggregators. Buses charging high fares will be penalised,” the official added.
On the Bengaluru-Hubballi route, the normal fare for non-AC sleeper bus went up from the range of Rs 800-900 to Rs 1,100-1,400. On the Mangaluru route, a leading operator charged Rs 3,000 for a seat, which usually costs less than Rs 1,000.
The state government has been sitting on a proposal by the RTO to fix minimum and maximum fare per kilometre for buses running on contract carriage permit (running from point A to B without stops). The existing fare rules apply only for buses running on stage carriage permit (operating like city transport with multiple stops).
Last week, Transport Commissioner V P Ikkeri said the subject will be taken up after the elections.