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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

BEST bus, power tariff hike likely in April 2013

Prajakta Chavan Rane, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, October 10, 2012
First Published: 01:36 IST(10/10/2012) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(10/10/2012)

It’s not just auto and taxi fares that are going to rise. From April 2013, a bus ride will also cost more, and if you live in south Mumbai, your electricity bills will be higher.

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The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) Undertaking has proposed Re 1 hike for ordinary bus tickets and Rs. 5 hike for AC buses, and up to 4% electricity hike in the budget for 2013-14, which was presented to its committee on Tuesday.

The bus fares need a nod from the committee as well as the civic body. If enforced, it will affect 70% of BEST commuters – all those who travel short Around 42 lakh Mumbaiites commute by BEST buses every day.

While for ordinary, limited, express and AC express buses, the hike is proposed for only the first two slabs of the journey, that is, at 2km and 3km, for AC buses, the Rs5 hike has been proposed at all slabs. The minimum fare (2 km) for ordinary and limited buses is likely to go up to Rs6, while the minimum fare for express buses will be Rs8. Those who travel by AC super buses will be the worst hit.

The BEST hopes the fare revision will help it achieve a surplus budget; it has been on shaky financial ground and has had a deficit budget for the past decade. “Since 2003, the BEST budget has been in deficit. Efforts are on to break even in 2012-13 and make it surplus in 2013-14. In 2012-13, we will have Rs23crore as surplus, but it will go towards repaying loans,” said OP Gupta, general manager, BEST, while presenting the budget.

The BEST hopes the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission, whose approval is needed to increase power tariff, allows it to make up the revenue of Rs165 crore by hiking power tariff by 4%.

Ashok Patil, BEST chairperson, said: “No fare hike for buses will be approved.” However, Sunil Ganacharya, a senior committee member, said: “We will discuss it in the following meetings.”

Consumer activists accepted the fare hike saying it’s minimum and inevitable. “The BEST service in Mumbai is good and a Re1 hike is acceptable,” said Sunil Mone, consumer activist. 


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