The state government has hiked tram fares after introducing an upward revision in bus, minibus and taxi fares.
The decision, notified on Thursday, allows tram fares for the 0-4km stage to go up to Rs 5 from Rs 4; for journeys of more than 4km, the revised fare is Rs 6 instead of Rs 5.
Trams have only two fare stages. The class system had been discontinued in October.
“The decision was taken because of the rising cost of electricity,” said Shantilal Jain, the chairman of the Calcutta Tramways Company. “A hike in tram fare was long overdue, though unrelated to the rising price of diesel. We thought it was a good time to introduce the fare hike, alongside that of buses, minibuses and taxis.”
According to CESC, which supplies power to the CTC, the monthly bill for the city’s tram services is around Rs 44 lakh. Jain said the bill had shot up by 50 per cent in the last five years, mainly because of increased power tariff.
“In order to make ends meet, given the rising power expense, this hike — of around 20 per cent — will help a lot,” Jain added.
Over 55,000 commuters still use trams daily. The city has 21 operational tram routes, with around 120 trams plying each day.
On Friday, the second day of the new fare regime for buses, minibuses and taxis, the number of buses on various routes went up by around 40 per cent and taxis by around 25 per cent.
Many of these vehicles had gone off the road because of the government’s refusal to hike fares after a steep rise in the price of diesel.
Minibus operators, however, reiterated their disapproval of the revision and stuck to their demand of a 25 per cent hike at every stage, instead of the 14 to 20 per cent increase that the government has allowed.
Abashesh Daw, the secretary of the Minibus Operators’ Coordination Committee, said the minibus lobby had sought an appointment with the chief minister next week.
“Till our demand is met, we will continue charging according to the old fare structure,” he said.