The transportation wing of the satellite city's corporation has sought a grant of Rs 45 crore from it for the coming financial year, instead of hiking fares to cover its losses
Bus commuters in the satellite city can heave a sigh of relief. It's huge losses notwithstanding, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) has decided not to hike bus fares in its annual budget for the next financial year. Instead, it has knocked on the doors of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) for aid worth Rs 45 crore, so the bus services can be kept running.
'Fare' share: Instead of burdening commuters with increased ticket
costs, NMMT has decided to use the grant to run more services, so it
may generate more revenue
The committee members of NMMT, who represent various political factions, said that the decision had been made in order to spare passengers. However, they warned that they would be compelled to hike fares if there was a significant rise in diesel and CNG prices. At present, the NMMT operates 336 buses in the satellite city, of which around 180 run on CNG and 156 on diesel.
This financial year, NMMC has been incurring huge losses due to poor revenue generation from bus services, forcing it to seek a Rs 45-crore grant from NMMC. Hanumant Dalvi, chairman, NMMT, claimed that the decision has been taken keeping the interest of commuters in mind. "Although we have not increased our bus fares in the last year, we will not be doing so this year as well, because we do not want to place an additional burden on our commuters. We will compensate the losses caused by low fares by starting more bus services using the grant," said Dalvi.
Another member of the committee, however, opined that the time is ripe for a hike in fares this year, as there are no elections in the offing. Suresh Mhatre, member of the transport committee, said, "NMMT should provide people transport services at low cost, but not at the cost of its own profit.
They will face opposition if they try to hike fares a year later, when the elections will be round the corner. Running transport services at the mercy of grants from the municipal corporation is not a viable solution." Meanwhile, commuter associations have welcomed NMMT's decision to spare their pockets, but have expressed concerns about a possible deterioration of the quality of service provided. "We welcome NMMT's decision to refrain from a fare hike, but it should not effect the quality of the transport service and other facilities," said Arun Bhise of the Citizen's Unity Forum.