A day before the end of the state government’s three-day ultimatum, a large number of private buses here and in the suburbs resumed normal services, easing the transportation problems that commuters were facing since the state started slowly opening up last month.
State Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari said, “Around 1,800 government buses and 3,800 private buses are plying in and around the city. The availability of buses are absolutely normal today.”
Private bus operators had been demanding a fare hike, saying they were incurring losses because of high fuel prices and limits on passengers that can board the vehicles. Organisations representing private bus owners also rejected Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s offer to pay Rs 15,000 subsidy for 6,000 private buses for three months, saying it was not a permanent solution.
Till earlier this week, only 25 per cent of private buses operated across the city. With suburban trains and Metro Railway services still on hold, commuters faced a harrowing time travelling to work and back.
To break the deadlock, Banerjee on Tuesday threatened to take action against the private bus owners under the Disaster Management Act if their vehicles continued to remain off the road. She gave them three days to resume normal services.
A section of bus operators, following a meeting with the transport secretary on Wednesday, assured that more vehicles would be pressed into service from Thursday.
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