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After Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) rejected a Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) proposal to exempt it from octroi on fuel and spare parts to cut losses,the public transport company on Friday decided to hike bus fare and increase charges of passes as well. The minimum fare of Rs 5 for 2 km has not been changed but a hike of Re 1 would be applicable from the second stage onwards, said Prashant Jagtap,Director,PMPML board,after a meeting of the board of directors.
Cost of a daily pass would go up from Rs 60 to Rs 70 and weekly passes from Rs 250 to Rs 300. Commutes within the city will pay Rs 900 for a monthly pass instead of Rs 800 while those outside the civic jurisdiction will pay Rs 1,200 instead of Rs 950. Students will pay Rs 500 instead of Rs 450,and senior citizens Rs 350 instead of from Rs 300 per month. The monthly passes for civic employees will go up from Rs 550 to Rs 600.
Increase in fuel prices and expenses on spare parts resulted in increased losses for PMPML. The public transport company is facing a loss of Rs 23-28 crore a year and the proposal to hike fare to cut losses was tabled in April, said Jagtap.
The PMPML board had decided to seek octroi exemption from PMC and PCMC on fuel and spare parts,instead of opting for a fare hike. It was expected an exemption would help PMPML reduce losses but a fare hike became inevitable after PMC refused to grant exemption, said Jagtap.
He said the fare hike would help PMPML earn Rs 10 lakh more a day. The proposal would be tabled in the Regional Traffic Authority (RTA) for approval. It will be only after RTA approval that the hike will be implemented, Jagtap said,adding that PMPML cannot afford to go for a further hike and hence the civic body should help it reduce losses.
The board also decided to purchase 500 more buses and regularise 375 employees working on contract for the past 12 years,he added.
Activists termed the hike unnecessary and unjust.
Jugal Rathi of PMP Pravasi Manch said,There are other ways for PMPML to generate money. Recovery from various sources has been pending for years. If run efficiently,PMPML can be profitable but its leadership is using opportunities to put additional burden on the common man and cover up corruption and inefficiency.
According to Rathi,the decision may push more private vehicles onto the roads. On the one hand there is talk of curbing pollution,and on the other public transport is being made so expensive. Its ridiculous, said Rathi.