The city bus service in Dhanbad has followed the path shown by the autos to increase fares, the hike coming for the first time since the fleet made its debut in 2010.
Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC), which operates the buses procured under the millennium city project of JNNURM, has hiked the fares on all five routes by Rs 2 to Rs 7 to tide over the crisis posed by increasing fuel costs.
The hike will come into effect from April 1.
Justifying their decision, Dhanbad service in-charge of JTDC, N.K. Singh said: “This is the first hike in city bus fares since they started plying here on August 9, 2010. The hike percentage is a little steep for only such destinations where the fare was exceptionally low. Besides, the auto fares also recently went up and we have to keep pace if we want to make profits.”
The JNNURM buses ply from Dhanbad to Sindri, Dhanbad to Nirsa, Dhanbad to Katras, Dhanbad to Baghmara and Jharia to Katras.
The steepest hike has been carried out on the Dhanbad-Sindri route. Passengers would now have to pay Rs 22 instead of Rs 15. Those getting down at Jharia on the same route will have to fork out Rs 7. Earlier, the fare was Rs 5.
A drop at Tetulmari, a popular stop on the Dhanbad-Baghmara route, will cost Rs 15 instead of Rs 12.
But JTDC’s Singh argued that even after the fare revision, city buses were still cheaper than autos.
“The city bus fare from Dhanbad to Sindri at Rs 22 will be still Rs 7 cheaper than the new auto fare of Rs 29. I don’t think people will face any difficulty in coughing up a few extra bucks,” he added.
The hike, however, didn’t go down well with the passengers.
“The Rs 7 hike on the Sindri route is exceptionally high. This is almost a 50 per cent jump, which cannot be justified in any way. We will hand over a memorandum to city bus authorities, the district transport department and the district administration soon after a holding a meeting among ourselves within a week,” President of Dhanbad Zilla Yatri Upbhokta Sangh, Shiv Ranjan Singh said.
At present, 20 out of 65 JNNURM buses ply in Dhanbad. The remaining 45 lie grounded due to various reasons like shortage of manpower and high fuel costs.