The hike in charges will differ as per the localities and schools, the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) office-bearer Ramesh Maniyan, as schools across the city opened on Monday
Representative image. Pic/Istock
School bus operators in Mumbai will soon be increasing the bus operational charges by at least 20 per cent in the current academic year, as compared to rates before the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the school operators, the hike in price will be due to a rise in fuel price and other reasons.
The hike in charges will differ as per the localities and schools, the School Bus Owners Association (SBOA) office-bearer Ramesh Maniyan, as schools across the city opened on Monday.
He said they have been forced to increase school bus charges due to various reasons, like the fuel price hike, payment of salaries of drivers and other staff, increased bus cost, RTO fees, traffic fines and penalties paid in the last two years, when their operations were closed.
Though the business was closed for two years due to the pandemic, the salaries of drivers and other staff, like cleaners and female attendants, went up, he pointed out.
Maniyan, who is also an office-bearer of the Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatana, said the life of a school bus in Mumbai is about eight years, compared to 15 years in other parts of the country. Hence, they had requested the government to allow them to operate the old buses for another two years as the vehicles were not running during the pandemic, but it was turned down.
"If the government had accepted the demand, the burden (of bus charges) would not have been passed on to the parents of students," he said.
Meanwhile, the parents of some students said schools have not yet conveyed to them about the increase in bus charges, but some operators have hinted at a hike, which would affect them at a time when they are already reeling under the burden of inflation.
"My daughter's school is located in Byculla area. A school van operator earlier used to charge Rs 900 per month for the journey from Kalachowki area (about three km away). Though the school has not yet conveyed anything about the bus charges increase, the old operator has told some parents that they are going to charge Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,500, which is quite high for such a short distance," a parent said on condition of anonymity.
(with inputs from PTI)