With the common man already facing the brunt due to rise in prices of essential commodities, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) has further compounded their woes by increasing bus fares yesterday.
Travelling by public transport buses in Navi Mumbai will cost more, as fares have been hiked between 10 to 30 per cent for both regular and air-conditioned buses depending on the distance travelled. The hike, however, will burn holes in the pockets of commuters using the Volvo AC buses, as the fare has been raised by 30 per cent, while fares of regular buses have been increased by around 10 to 12 per cent.
NMMT claimed that the fare increase has nothing to do with the recent hike in diesel prices since the proposal to hike fares was tabled around two months back. “We have been incurring huge losses from the last few years, but we still managed to run the public transport service efficiently. However, it has become difficult for us due to increased costs of petroleum products and escalating maintenance expenses in the last one year. So we have increased our fares by 10 to 30 percent. However, the recent hike in the diesel prices has no bearing on our decision,” said a NMMT official, on condition of anonymity.
According to data made available by NMMT, the transport body earns an average of Rs 7 crore, but incurs outlays of around Rs 8.5 crore per month, leading to loss of around Rs 1.5 crore. NMMT officials claimed that burgeoning losses would cripple services, if fares weren’t raised immediately. Although NMMT’s hike in fares will drill a hole in commuters’ pockets, it has claimed that passengers travelling in regular buses will be less affected.
“We have tried to keep the hike for regular buses as low as possible at just 10 to 12 per cent. Fares for the first stage will remain unchanged at Rs 5, but for successive stages we have increased fares by Rs 1 to 2. The fare for AC buses will be more, around 30 per cent, as we have increased fare by Rs 5 to 10 for all stages,” said Pandit Tandel, traffic superintendent of NMMT.
NMMT operates in and around Navi Mumbai with a fleet of 336 buses, which include 30 Volvo AC buses. 145 ply on diesel while 161 run on CNG.