Bus commuters may have to face two consecutive fare hikes within the first few months of 2015.
The Shiv Sena controlled Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) committee cleared the 2015-16 financial budget, which proposed t hese hikes, on Thursday.
The first fare revision, expected to be between Rs 1 and Rs 10 (per slab) depending on the distance will come into effect from February 1. The basic fare for 2 km will increase from existing Rs 6 to Rs 7 for regular bus and Rs 5 for airconditioned buses from Rs 20 to Rs 25.
The second fare hike will be effective from April 1, only if the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) fails to grant Rs 150 crore subsidy sought by the BEST. The basic tariff will then go up from Rs 7 to Rs 8.
With the Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the BMC granted the subsidy in 2014 to avoid fare revision.
However, the BMC may not be able to continue giving the grant next year, as its octroi collection has reduced by 15%, said Yashodhar Phanse, standing committee chairperson.
“We will try to provide the grant, but with the octroi collection down, t he BMC is also facing cash crunch. Besides, I have requested t he Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority [MMRDA] to provide some financial aid to the BEST undertaking,” said Phanse, who is also member of the BEST committee.
In fact, during a joint meeting, mayor Snehal Ambekar and Phanse demanded that the MMRDA give the subsidy amount to the BEST.
The 2015-16 financial budget was cleared with one vote in the BEST committee. While seven committee members of t he Sena and BJP voted in favour, six members of Congress and MNS opposed it.
Now the matter will go to the BMC general body, which will decide whether to grant the subsidy or allow the fare revision.