Mumbai: Pay a minimum of Rs 8 on BEST buses from today

The Undertaking claims the hike is the only possible way to tide over the mounting losses

Two months after the BEST first hiked its fares by Rs 1; the second consecutive hike will be in place from today, thus taking the minimum fare to Rs 8 for regular buses and Rs 30 for the air-conditioned ones.

In 2015 the per kilometre fare in BEST buses is Rs 3.50. File picture
In 2015 the per kilometre fare in BEST buses is Rs 3.50. File picture

The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking claims that the fare hike is the only possible way to tide over the mounting losses. Sources said that annually the Undertaking will earn Rs 150 crore from this fare hike. “We are suffering losses to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore every year, majority of which is from transport wing,” said a BEST official.

The fare hike that came into effect from February was the outcome of a postponement by Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which had offered their sister concern the BEST a sum of Rs 150 crore for deferring the hike by a year. From April onwards the hike is meant for the new financial year; against which the BMC refused to give another Rs 150 crore and ease the 40 lakh commuters.

The BEST is already recovering transport deficit Rs 1.54 per unit from electricity bills supplied to 10 lakh consumers for which 2015-16 is the last year. Sources said that over the past 20 years or so, there have been more than 10 fare hikes, but the local train fare has been raised fewer times. The railway authorities are crying foul over the whole fare hike.

“Now more people will prefer taking the local trains after this hike in bus fares. The suburban train fares haven’t undergone such frequent hikes,” said a senior railway official. Railway officials want a fare hike for the railways also.

The rail authorities added that way back in year 1993, the fares per kilometre for BEST were 33 paise while that for suburban trains were 20 paise. There has been severe disparity since then. In 2015, the per kilometre fare in BEST buses is Rs 3.50 and that of suburban trains is 50 paise.

Hike in service tax also kicks in today
The hike in service tax may also result in fare hike for first class travel in local trains and AC coaches in long distance trains.

The hike in suburban trains could be anywhere between Rs 5-10 for a monthly ticket and a corresponding increase for six monthly and yearly passes as well. The present service tax charged per ticket is 3.7 per cent, which would come to 4.3 per cent after the hike.

This hike in service tax, announced during the Union financial budget, will see eating out, staying at hotels and travelling by railways become costlier. According to city hoteliers, the increase in service tax from 12.36 per cent to 14 per cent will ultimately put a financial burden on the consumers.

Voices

Adarsh Shetty, President, AHAR
The hike will ultimately be passed on to the customers. With such a hike, the footfall in restaurants will reduce and the revenue of the industry could go down by approximately 15-20%. It is a very big hike.

Ritesh Sinha, Manager, Hotel Three Star
The tax hike will put a financial burden on our consumers, however the percentage of hike will differ as per the category of hotel. A hotel like ours will have to apply only 60% of the actual tax.

Amit Randive, Panvel resident
Already the rates of various commodities increase every now and then. The previous service tax of 12.36 per cent seemed like a burden. I was not expecting a hike of almost 2%. Further, we are not benefiting with the hike; the services will remain the same as they were earlier.

Bal Malkit Singh, President, Bombay Goods transport Association (BGTA)
The service tax hike will have an adverse impact on everyone. The cost of living will increase, however, it is too early to comment on it.

Vilas Chakane, Belapur resident
I am not aware about the calculations of those running the country, however, at the end of the day people like us pay more, which is not good news.

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