The rollback in bus, minibus and taxi fares, slated to be in effect from June 1, has been deferred temporarily due to the June 8 by-elections in the Nabadwip and Vidyasagar constituencies. “As per the code of conduct, we cannot make any such announcement just before a by-election,” explained transport minister Subhas Chakraborty.
Last Friday, the minister had said fares for public transport would come down from June 1. The new fare structure — effected for the first time due to a drop in diesel prices — was to have been announced on May 22, after a meeting with representatives of bus, minibus and taxi associations. The meeting was cancelled.
Uncertainty may cloud the date of implementation even after June 1. The transport department has asked the chief electoral officer whether the new fare structure could be announced before June 22, when elections will be held in 13 municipalities across the state.
Some of the transport associations have, however, expressed discontent over the possible slash in passenger fares. “There has been an increase in the prices of spares. Police fines and motor vehicles fees have also gone up. The government should keep these things in mind while deciding on a reduced fare structure,” said Swarnakamal Saha, president of the Bengal Bus Syndicate.