Bhubaneswar, Aug. 6: Travelling on city buses is set to cost more with the state government today giving the nod to a proposal of the Bhubaneswar-Puri Transport Service Limited (BPTSL) to raise fares.
This would be the first time since the introduction of the city bus service in 2010 that the fares would be hiked.
Sudhanshu Jena, chief executive officer of Dream Team Sahara (DTS), the private operator of the city buses working under the BPTSL, said the proposal was mooted after they incurred huge losses because of frequent hikes in fuel prices last year. “We had urged the government to increase the bus fare by Rs 2 per 3km, but they agreed to hike it by Re 1 only,” he said, adding that a call on the government’s decision would be discussed in the board meeting of the BPTSL.
“The bus service was launched two years ago. After several pleas, the government has decided to hike the bus fare for the first time, but only a slight increase will not serve our purpose,” he said.
Mayor Anant Narayan Jena, who is also the chairman of BPTSL, said: “The new bus fares have not been effected yet. We will discuss the issue at our board meeting.”
The government’s approval to hike bus fares has attracted criticism from various sections, including students.
“Students travelling in city buses should get concessions. The operators are yet to come up with a monthly ticketing scheme for students,” said Biplab Kumar Das, a Plus Three student of a college in the capital.
Roadside vendors have also reacted sharply to the proposed fare hike. “We depend on the buses to bring our products to the market. If the fare is increased, we will be hit badly,” said a vendor at Unit-I daily market.
At present, 105 of the 125 city buses ply on the roads. The city bus service currently operates on 12 routes covering Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. While 70 buses ply within the capital, 20 connect to Cuttack, 10 to Khurda and five to Puri. Nearly 42,000 passengers depend on the service daily, which was introduced on October 10, 2010 with just 20 buses for Bhubaneswar alone. Gradually, the service was extended to Puri, Cuttack and parts of Khurda.