Feb 03, 2018: Falling down to the exorbitant toll colected and bus business becoming a loss to operators, 2 private buses, plying between Talapady and Kundapura on NH 66 under the aegis of Canara Bus Owners Association, have discontinued services.
The vehicles plying from Mangaluru to Udupi or Kundapura have to pay the toll at Surathkal, Hejamady and Sasthana. For heavy vehicles, the toll (with return journey) is Rs 160. The buses from Mangaluru to Kundapura travel twice.
“Even after paying the hefty toll, the road is not in good condition. The road repair at Padubidri has not commenced,” said Canara Bus Owners Association treasurer Jyothi Prasad Hegde. A few more bus operators have also decided to suspend their services.
The entrepreneurs who had purchased one or two buses and had started transport business are moving away from the business. In the last six months. Also, the rise in price of petrol, 28% GST on spare parts, and exorbitant toll has taken a toll on the owners, said Hegde.
“A few bus owners have submitted a complaint to the Association on the exorbitant toll. We have appealed to the NHAI officials on the exorbitant toll fee. We have also submitted a petition for maintenance of the road. However, no action has been initiated so far,” Hegde added.
The distance between Surathkal and Hejamady is only 10-km. Despite this, vehicle owners have to pay a toll at Hejamady. Though the government and the officials had promised to stop toll collection at Surathkal, the promise have not been fulfilled so far, said a bus owner.
According to Canara Bus Owners Association, the association provides 50% concession for students and 35% concession for daily commuters in their buses. To support the transport system, the government should provide concession in the toll fee.
According to NHAI project director Samson, the issues raised by the association needs to be discussed at the government level. “Owing to monsoon, there was delay in commencement of road maintenance work. The work on repairing the stretch at Padubidri has commenced. The toll at Surathkal will be closed and the government is looking into the issue.”