Mumbai:(The Hindu): The civic body approved an increase in fares of buses run by BEST, after an urgent business proposal was tabled in the BMC General Body meeting to clear the hike. Though the minimum fare of 8 remains unchanged, fares for distances above 6 km will increase by Re.1. Fares for air conditioned buses will increase by 5.
Congress corporator and BEST committee member Ravi Raja said, “They have asked for scrapping routes that fail to generate less than 40% revenue. Close to 240 of the 510 routes fall in this category. Only nine routes are profitable, while 260 just about manage to break even. How can so many routes be scrapped? This move is anti-people.”
The Ananddayi Yatra scheme for concessional travel during non-peak hours has been scrapped, while concessions to school and junior college students have been reduced. Mr. Raja said, “For quarterly passes, students in Class V and below will have to shell out 30% more. Students in classes VI to X will have to pay 40% more, while those in classes XI and XII will have to pay 25% more.”
The fare hike has been in the pipeline for some time now, and was insisted upon by Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta as part of the process to reform and revive BEST. The Congress called the fare hike a one-sided decision by the ruling party. A BEST spokesperson said this fare hike would come into force after approval by the State Transport Commissioner.
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