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Car travel cheaper after bus fare hike.

Short- distance travellers will have to pay abomb from November 1

THE HIKE in bus fares, announced by the Delhi government on Monday, means commuters will now pay as much as Rs 2.5 per km to travel in DTC ( or Blueline) buses. This is likely to discourage people from boarding buses as travelling on a two- wheeler or in a car works out to be far cheaper.

In fact, commuting by bus has now become at least three times more costlier than commuting by motorcycle and two times more costlier than travelling in a car fuelled by CNG. The new fares come into effect from November 1.

" We have all along been saying that personal vehicles shouldn't be incentivised at the cost of public transport. We have done a survey and found out that the cost of riding a motorcycle comes to Re 1 per km. If the government increases the fare of buses to recover the cost of investment they are making in the buses, people with the means to buy a motorbike would surely be weaned away from the public transport," Anumita Roy- By Amitabh Shankar in New Delhi chowdhury of the Centre for Science and Environment said.

" Even the cost of operation for smaller cars with CNG- fitted engines comes to a little over Rs 1 per km. In such a scenario, surely the number of private vehicles will go up on the city roads." According to a survey conducted by the CSE, the number of people taking public transport has come down considerably over the years.

Roychowdhury said, " In 2001, buses in the Capital accounted for 60 per cent of total daily travellers. This has now come just to 43 per cent." After the fare hike, commuting in buses will cost a minimum Rs 5 for the first 3 km, Rs 10 for 3- 10 km and a maximum Rs 15 for 10 km and more.

According to DTC managing director Naresh Kumar, about 40 per cent of ticket sales account for travel of less than 4 km, 26 per cent people travel between 4 and 8 km, 10 per cent between 8 and 12 km and 24 per cent more than 12 km.

The fare hike this time means people travelling less distances -- they make up the lion's share of bus passengers -- will have to pay more.

Roychowdhury cautioned, " The poor in Delhi can't pay the present fares. The slums have been shifted to the outskirts and the slum- dwellers have to walk or cycle to their workplaces in the Capital. Nearly 34 per cent of them walk to their workplaces daily while 20 per cent cycle to their workplaces on an average. In some areas, cycle trips to workplaces are as high as 40 per cent.

The number of such people is bound to increase." The fare hike means a windfall for Blueline operators who are already making a killing. The Blueline buses are in bad state.

They break traffic rules and have killed 94 people till October 15 as compared to 102 in the corresponding period last year despite a decrease in the number of Bluelines on the road.

S. P. Singh, a senior fellow at the Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training, criticised the fare hike.

" The hike is unwarranted. By increasing the fare, the government has rewarded the Blueline operators and the inefficient DTC. The DTC had demanded higher fares on the basis of the fact that they are building a new fleet of low- floor buses. But these buses account for only 10 per cent of the total bus fleet of the DTC. The hike is also not going to improve the efficiency and reliability of the DTC." The fares of Metro feeder buses have also been increased from Rs 5 to Rs 8 and from Rs 7 to Rs 10. The cost of student concessional passes has been increased from Rs 12.50 to Rs 100 per month and general monthly passes from Rs 400 to Rs 800.

amitabh. shankar@ mailtoday. in

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 27, 2009
Words:691
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