Kolkata, Jun 29 (PTI) Transport woes of commuters
compounded on Monday with a large number of private buses
remaining off the roads in the city, demanding a fare hike in
the wake of rising fuel prices and COVID-19 restrictions on
the number of passengers allowed to board.
Travellers complained of inordinate delays in getting
to their destinations as fewer private buses are in
operation in the metropolis and its suburbs compared to last
Commuters have been facing hardships owing to lack of
public transport since the beginning of Unlock-1 on June 8,
when most government and private offices and establishments
Joint Council of Bus Syndicates, one of the largest
associations of private bus operators in the city and the
districts, said the current fare structure is not viable.
“High diesel prices, coupled with the state
government”s directive to allow only sitting capacity
passengers, have crippled services. Ticket sales are not
enough to even pay for the fuel cost, leave alone other
expenses,” its general secretary Tapan Banerjee said.
Fuel prices were hiked for the 22nd time on Monday in
just over three weeks.
Dipali Roy, an employee with an ad agency, said
commuting to office is a painful experience for her every day.
“I was late to work by two hours this morning, as
there were no buses available for Tollygunge from Airport
Gate No 1. It was also raining heavily and app cabs were
cancelling bookings. Finally, I managed to get a taxi but
reached office well behind schedule,” she said.
“Commuting to office in Sector-V Salt Lake is a
nightmare, as buses are barely available and most of them
arrive filled to seating capacity. App cabs charge a bomb, and
finding a regular taxi is a matter of luck,” said Ankit Gupta,
a resident of Kasba.
According to All Bengal Bus Minibus Sammanoy Samity
(coordination committee) general secretary Rahul Chatterjee,
there are around 27,000 private buses in the state.
Around 25 per cent of the total number were in
operation last week, officials said.
“The state government offering to pay a monthly dole
of Rs 15,000 each for 6,000 private buses for three months
will create confusion and division among the owners,”
Chatterjee said, adding, a fare hike is the only solution to
the current imbroglio.
He said the coordination committee has not called for
any stoppage of services, but given the losses being incurred
daily, owners are withdrawing vehicles from the routes.
State transport undertaking, WBTC, however, is running
buses at full strength, its managing director Rajanvir Singh
Kapur said. PTI AMR
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI