Not just common commuters, school students too have been burdened by the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport ( BEST), which doubled its school bus fees with effect from Wednesday.
Following the fare revision, the fees per month for each private school student using the undertaking’s dedicated bus facility for a distance of upto 10-km within BMC limits will be Rs 2,400. The earlier amount was Rs 1,200. Fees for the same services for a distance beyond 10km within BMC limits has also been doubled, shooting up from Rs 1,700 to Rs 3,400.
The cost of a six-month bus pass used by students up to Class 12th has been increased to Rs 2,500 from Rs 1,500.
“We had repeatedly requested the ruling party to roll back the bus fare hike for school students. Not everyone can afford such a steep hike,” said Kedar Hombalkar, BEST committee member.
From Wednesday, the BEST bus fare will go up by Rs 1-2 in many slabs. This is the second fare revision that the undertaking has imposed in less than two months, to mitigate its losses. The move will effect 35 lakh suburban daily commuters using the BEST services.
In February, the undertaking had imposed a steep fare revision, ranging from Rs 1-10. Even distance slabs were restructured, which affected commuters.
Activists have criticised both BMC and the BEST for the second fare revision in less than two months. “It’s a shameful act on part of the BMC that they are ready to spend Rs8,000 crore for the coastal road that will serve the upper classes, but are reluctant to spare Rs 1,50crore to benefit the weaker sections of society and the middle classes,” said Rishi Aggarwal, transport activist.
The undertaking has also added 24 bus routes in its scheme, under which commuters can stop buses anywhere along the route, and board them. Commuters can also get off buses at any point, by asking the driver to stop the bus.
The undertaking has commissioned new bus routes between Saath Rasta and Mahim bus depot, and an air-conditioned bus service from Seepz to Bhayander. Two routes were cancelled – from Ghatkopar East to Ghatkopar Police Colony and the AC route from Thane to the international airport.