Rising fuel prices have forced the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking to increase bus fares.
The BEST Committee on Monday decided to hike fares by 12.50 to 30 per cent for ordinary buses; the minimum fare will rise from Rs 3 to Rs 4. There was no change in AC buses’ fares.
As per the new structure, for the first stage — about 2 km — the minimum fare will be charged. For every next stage, Rs 2 will be added to the fare.
Monthly and quarterly bus passes will be costlier by Rs 80 and Rs 220 respectively. The monthly bus pass for minimum distance currently costs Rs120, while the quarterly pass costs Rs 330. The fare hike would affect 75 per cent of bus commuters, about 30 lakh of the total 42 lakh. An official said the BEST was facing a funds deficit of over Rs 500 crore.
The new structure will be implemented once it is cleared by the general body, probably within 15 days. BEST was the only mode of public transport that had not raised fares in the past five years. The last fare hike was in 2005. The Congress strongly opposed the hike and staged a walkout.
The ruling Shiv Sena-BJP combine cleared the proposal on the basis of a majority. “The proposal will be tabled before the general body for ratification,” said Sanjay Potnis, BEST Committee chairman.
The Congress’ Ravi Raja, a member of the committee, said: “Even a Re 1 hike for the first stage is unaffordable. To add to it, the ruling combine sanctioned Rs 2 for every next stage. The BEST chairman should have written the mayor, seeking monetary help instead.”