Travelling by Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) bus, preferred by many because of the lower prices, may cost its 40 lakh commuters more from April 2015.
The BEST undertaking, run by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Tuesday, proposed revised fares and restructured slabs, which may hike the fare from Rs. 1-10, to the BEST committee as part of the 2015-16 budget.
The proposal is likely to be discussed on November 18, 19 and 20, after which it will be sent to the corporation for the general body’s approval.
The budget includes two fare structures, one without a subsidy, while another with a subsidy of Rs. 150 crore granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the 2014-15 fiscal to avoid a fare revision because the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were to be held in the year.
Irrespective of the subsidy, commuters will have to pay the revised fare.
In the proposed budget, the basic fare for 2km will go up by Rs. 1 for regular buses and Rs. 5 for air-conditioned buses, if the subsidy is granted.
In its absence, the minimum fare for 2km will increase up to Rs. 8 from the current Rs. 6 for a regular bus, and from Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 for air-conditioned buses. Around 70% of bus commuters will be affected by the decision.
The subsequent distance slabs, too, will be restructured. Currently, the distance slabs are 2km, 3km, 5km, 7km, 10km and 15km, but in the proposed budget they are 2km, 4km, 6km, 10km, 14km, 20km and 30km.
Consequently, the commuters will have to pay more for the same distance.
Kedar Hombalkar, BEST committee member, said, “Instead of avoiding a fare hike, the BEST should gradually increase the fare, but simultaneously improve their services. If BEST doesn’t increase the fare for long, the commuters may have to face a sudden and sharp hike.”