September 28, 2018 1:19:26 am
Student passes should not be made valid in AC buses due to “increasing losses” incurred by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), the Finance Department has observed, adding that it may also lead to “extra rush” and discourage regular commuters.
The finance department had red-flagged the proposal to allow student passes in AC buses when it was put up before the DTC Board, chaired by Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, on August 3. The board cleared the proposal, which now awaits a Cabinet nod.
Currently, student concessional monthly passes cost Rs 100. These passes are valid on all non-AC buses run by the DTC and cluster buses plying under the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System. Over eight lakh student passes have been issued by the corporation in the last four years.
The finance department estimated that the financial burden, if the proposal is implemented, will come to Rs 250 per pass, “not Rs 50 as calculated by the DTC”.
“The intended purpose of introduction of AC buses in Delhi was to encourage the use of public transport by car users and the same will be defeated by allowing non-AC student concessional bus pass in AC buses at subsidised rates as the AC bus users may be discouraged to travel due to the extra rush. The instant proposal also intends to offer premium bus facility at concessional rates. This premium bus service should not be subsidised specially in the background of increasing DTC losses,” principal secretary (Finance), Renu Sharma, observed, according to the minutes of the meeting.
Sharma added that DTC has shared that the additional financial liability on the Delhi government of Rs 4.32 crore, as worked out by the DTC, has been done on the basis of average number of passes issued during the last four financial years. But, the number of such passes will rise further as DTC has expanded the ambit of the scheme, she said.
However, Gahlot countered the objections saying AC buses are not fully occupied most of the time, so there won’t be extra rush. He said the proposal intends to encourage students to use public transport.
The financial health of DTC had come up in its board meeting in June as well. Then, the board had resolved to examine and move a proposal regarding fare revision to the administrative department and also explore alternate sources of revenue generation. The corporation incurred an operating loss of around Rs 92 per bus in 2017-18 as against earnings of Rs 32 from them.
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