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Pay up more for long bus journeys

Jamshedpur Bus Owners’ Association implemented a flat 20 per cent hike on long-distance fares for various destinations in Bihar and Jharkhand from Friday.

Justifying the “moderate hike”, the bus association convener Upendra Sharma said they were compelled to increase fares after two years in view of the recent Rs 5.90 per litre jump in diesel price.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sharma said the association members held an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon with private bus owners. “Following talks with bus owners and staff over operating costs, we decided that 20 per cent was a moderate hike. As it was Bharat Bandh, we did not disclose the new rates on Thursday,” said Sharma.

They made up for lost time on Friday by immediately issuing the new rate chart. Managers of bus services sold tickets based on the new fares.

From Jamshedpur, a ticket to Ranchi now costs Rs 120 instead of Rs 100. Commuters to Patna and Chhapra will pay Rs 420 instead of Rs 350. A ticket to Siwan costs Rs 380 instead of Rs 320 and to Hajipur Rs 320 instead of Rs 280.

Around 250 buses, including AC ones, operate from Sitaramdera bus terminus for as 60 destinations in Bihar and Jharkhand. But the common ones are Ranchi, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh in Jharkhand and Patna, Chhapra, Siwan and Hajipur in Bihar.

But, fares of 60 buses bound for Bengal and Odisha destinations have not gone up. “We take our diesel buses to Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Durgapur, Asansol and Burdwan, but we have not hiked fares like Jamshedpur Bus Owners’ Association,” said Santosh K. Jaiswal, owner of a booking firm.

He added that in Bengal and Odisha, state governments fixed private bus fares. “We will hike fares only when Bengal and Odisha issue directives,” said Jaiswal.

Sharma, when queried on this, said fares of buses on Odisha and Bengal routes were bound to increase. “It’s only a matter of time,” he said.