With the Delhi government being under pressure from autorickshaw and taxi unions as well as the Delhi Transport Corporation, Delhiites are staring at fare hikes across almost all modes of public transport.
On Monday — a day before the autorickshaw and taxi strike — Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit said she had asked the transport department to take a decision on fare hikes.
The auto and taxi unions have been insisting on a fare revision as the price of CNG increased by almost 80% since the last fare hike in June 2010. Today, half of Delhi’s autos — almost 25,000-30,000 — and all government-run taxis will stay off roads.
Dikshit said, “I have told the department to work out everything. We also have to look after the commuters’ interests.
Autorickshaws and taxis run on CNG and there has been no recent hike in CNG prices.”
Delhi transport minister Ramakant Goswami assured HT that a final decision on revising auto, taxi and bus fares would be taken in a fortnight. Metro commuters may also have to bear the brunt as an internal committee of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is working on a proposal to increase fares.
Transport department officials said the fare fixation committee had already had four meetings with the unions. “The committee is likely to give its recommendations this week,” a transport department official said.
The DTC has been pushing for a fare revision, too. The last time bus fares were hiked was in 2009. Officials said the DTC had asked for a fare revision in 2011. “The proposal was rejected then. But with input costs going up, the corporation is asking for a fare hike yet again,” an official said.
A senior transport department official said an across-the-board fare hike is unavoidable. “But it is going to be a political decision,” he said.
With assembly elections just a year away, sources said the government would have to take a decision now to ensure that the opposition parties don’t make it an issue closer to the elections.