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Minister meets bus operators

Transport minister Madan Mitra on Wednesday met representatives from private bus operators’ unions to discuss “misgivings” in the existing fare structure and apparently sounded them out on a possible revision in the newly reconstituted journey stages.

On Monday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had called up the minister and expressed displeasure over the recent hike in bus fares, which many passengers had found steep.

Mitra wanted to know from the union representatives what percentage of daily commuters travel 4km and have to pay Rs 7 in the new fare structure instead of the Rs 4 under the old system, said sources. He reportedly asked operators to be “considerate” towards these passengers. Mitra denied this, though.

The possible fallout of the old journey stages being restored was also discussed, sources said. Mitra denied this.

“We have heard that some bus operators have been misrepresenting the new fare chart. The meeting stressed that passengers should be clearly told how many kilometres comprise a stage and the fares,” Mitra told Metro.

“Tampering with the structure would kill the transport sector,” said Deepak Sarkar of the Bengal Bus Syndicate.