Commuters in the national capital will have to shell out more to travel in DTC and Blueline buses as Delhi Government on Monday decided to increase the fares after almost seven years to meet the increasing revenue shortfall.
Announcing the decision after a Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said the minimum fare of Rs three for upto four kilometres has been increased to Rs five, while the Rs seven and Rs 10 tickets have been increased to Rs 10 (up to 10 kms) and 15 (above 10 kms) respectively. "We are offering a clean and modern transport system to the citizens. We are increasing the fleet of low floor buses to 5,000. So, to make up a portion of the cost we have decided to increase the bus fare," Dikshit said, justifying the hike. She said the fares have been hiked after almost seven years.
The government also revised the rate of monthly students' pass from the existing Rs 12.50 to Rs 100 and fare of general pass has been increased from Rs 400 to 800. However, rates of concessional bus travel pass for senior citizens and journalists have not been increased. Officials said rates of concessional passes were last revised almost two decades back. Although Dikshit said the new fares will come into effect immediately, Transport Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely said the rates will come into force only after six-seven days as new tickets will have to be printed and notifications will have to be issued.
The new fare structure will have three slabs instead of current four which were-- Rs 3, Rs 5, Rs 7 and Rs 10. Lovely said Blue Line buses will also be allowed to collect fares as per the new rates as "there cannot be two fare structures in the city." "The phase out of the Blue Line buses will be completed within April next year. So they will be allowed to collect the new rates for these remaining months," Lovely said adding, the government would earn Rs 400 crore yearly revenue as result of the increase. Commuters in the city reacted to the decision angrily saying already they are over burdened with increasing food prices and recession in the economy. "They have increased the fare as there is no election in next couple of years.
The fare increase will add to my financial woes," said Saurabh Gulati, a marketing executive with a telecom company. For Shankar Das, a peon in a private company in Connaught Place, the fare hike decision is a "bolt from the blue". "I will have to shell out Rs 250 more monthly. I have two kids and do not know how I will manage my family," Das, who stays in Laxmi Nagar area of the city, said. On whether fare of air conditioned buses will be revised, he said the DTC board will take an appropriate decision on the issue.
The DTC, which runs the world's largest fleet of CNG buses, has incurred a total loss of over 1,222 crore in the financial year 2007-08. Lovely said the Cabinet also approved a proposal to procure 1,250 low floor buses. "We have dropped the idea of procuring semi-low floor buses. Instead of semi-low floor, we will procure low-floor buses only."
As per the latest audit report, DTC's accumulated loss stood at over Rs 6,500 crore as in March 2009.
To improve its financial condition, the department has also sent a proposal to Union Urban Development Ministry to develop commercial complexes like luxury hotels and restaurants at various interstate bus terminals in the city.
The DTC had asked for a 50 per cent hike to reduce the losses which is estimated at over Rs one crore a day.
The concession passes cost the DTC about Rs 150 crore per year. The fares were last revised in 2002.
Standing by the decision to hike fares, Lovely said bus fares in Delhi are the lowest among all the metros. Lovely said during next year's Commonwealth Games, the DTC will have a fleet of 5,000 low floor buses and 2,000 general buses. He said the Government has already started work on changing the colour of 2,000 green and yellow DTC buses to grass green colour. "We will also change the interiors of the old buses to make travel comfortable," Lovely said. PTI