Bus, minibus and taxi fares will be scaled down from June 1, transport minister Subhas Chakraborty announced at Writers’ Buildings on Friday. “Passenger fares of all modes of transport that had been raised will now be pared,” the minister said.
Chakraborty did not specify the rate of rollback, but said the new fare charts were being worked out. “We are taking into consideration all factors, including the fall in diesel price,” he said. Defending the delay in announcing the revised fare structure, the minister said: “It takes time to calculate fares when the diesel price shoots up. Similarly, it will take time to work out the fare when fuel prices have dropped.” He will formally announce the new fare structure on May 22.
Bus, minibus and taxi fares were raised in April 2003 after the price of diesel shot to Rs 23.51 a litre. The price has been cut to Rs 21.51 from May 2003. The transport department has been working on the new fare structure for some time and the operators’ associations, too, have not raised any objection to the state government decision on a rollback of passenger fares. They have expressed the hope, though, that the revised rates do not go against their interests.
This is the first time the state is reducing passenger fares, keeping it proportionate with the fall in the price of diesel.