Will the increase in bus fares result in more private vehicles on the city’s roads?
A study by the Centre for Transforming India (CFTI), a south Delhi-based non-government organization, reveals a gradual shift of about 20 per cent bus commuters to their private vehicles in the next six months.
The study also projects an additional consumption of 25.2 lakh litres of petrol costing the government exchequer Rs 1.7 crore on subsidy loss every day.
“The increase in bus fares is too steep. It would make people shift to their personal vehicles,” said Pankaj Sharma, chief trustee, CFTI. Increase in travelling costs, along with convenience, saving on time and direct connectivity would trigger the shift of bus commuters to two-wheelers. Around 17 lakh people travel by Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and blueline buses every day.
Sharma, however, agreed that Delhi Metro would benefit with the increase in bus fares, in the longer run. Metro would start reaping the benefits only after more of its sections are opened.
“People may prefer the Metro to buses and sometimes even their personal vehicles for a longer journey,” said Sharma.
According to the study, the cost of travel by a bus has gone up from Rs 0.66/km to Rs 1.16/km while the cost of commuting by a two-wheeler costs about Rs 0.90/km.
People travelling more than 20 km every day to their work and back are most likely to leave buses for their own bikes. The study revealed that those who change 2-3 buses on their way to office or come back have found the hiked fare structure punching a big hole in their pockets.
“Lack of an integrated transportation network coupled with the hike would make people travel by their own vehicles. Riding two-wheelers also offers the person flexibility and comfort. When the difference in travelling costs between the two modes is bigger, people tend to travel by their own vehicles,” Sharma said.
CFTI interviewed 500 bus commuters every day for three days immediately after the hike in fares.