As increased fares of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses came into effect Wednesday, commuters cried foul and alleged the government does not care about the common man.
“If the government is increasing the fare rates, then they should also ensure that the service also improves,” said Atul Kishan, who was stranded at Kashmere Gate bus terminal.
According to the new rates, the minimum ticket will now cost Rs.5, the Rs.7 ticket has been upped to Rs.10, and the Rs.10 fare to Rs.15. On the DTC's air-conditioned buses, commuters will have to pay Rs.10 for a ride up to three kilometres, Rs.15 for a journey between three and 10 km, and Rs.25 to travel beyond 10 km.
“I am waiting for a bus to Noida from last 30 minutes. The government has claimed to have increased fare on the basis of better comfort but the frequency of my bus is still low. What comfort is our chief minister Dikshit talking about,” Kishan added.
Another angry commuter is 21-year-college student Navneet Kaur, who said, she gets limited pocket money for travelling and the hike is not a good thing for them.
“The student pass is not of much help as the number of DTC buses is very less. I travel by both metro and buses. The problem may increase in the future as the government is planning to increase the metro fares too,” she told IANS.
Kamlesh Kumari, a resident of east Delhi, said: “I only earn Rs.3,500 a month and because of this hike my family has to rethink our entire budget. The government has not thought about the poor public while making this change in the ticket prices.”
Recently, a Delhi-based advocate had moved the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi government's decision to hike bus fares, terming it "unjustified".
Advocate Manohar Lal Sharma filed his lawsuit in the apex court registry, contending that "the government decision is unjustified and adds unbearably to the living costs of the poor in Delhi".
Sharma in his lawsuit said despite lacking required number of trained drivers, the public bus service has superfluous staff who are left idle.
"Hampered by shortage of qualified drivers - to the tune of 1,400, around as many buses, numbering 40 percent of the total buses, remain parked and idle during peak evening hours in various depots, adding to the woes of the commuters," said the lawsuit.
Sharma said the state-run transport service firm has 27,818 employees, of which 2,000 conductors, 1,147 maintenance workers and 141 administrative staff remain idle at their places of posting.