After a wait of two months, the transport department finally decreased the fare of passenger buses on Thursday even as two toll plazas on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway in Nawanshahr were closed down on September 13.
As per the verbal orders issued to the Punjab roadways bus depot in Nawanshahr, the bus fares have been slashed by Rs 5-8 for those travelling on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway.
The demand for reducing the fare had grown among passengers as they were still paying the same amount even as the toll plazas were closed down.
Earlier, those travelling from Jalandhar to Nawanshahr and Jalandhar to Chandigarh were paying Rs 60 and `155 respectively as bus fare. Those travelling from Nawanshahr to Ropar were charged Rs 45 bus fare.
Now, those travelling from Nawanshahr to Jalandhar will pay Rs 55, Rs 40 for Nawanshahr to Ropar,Rs 223 for Chandigarh to Amritsar (which was earlier Rs 230) and Rs 142 for Chandigarh to Jalandhar (which was earlier Rs 155).
Motorists (cars, jeeps and auto-rickshaws) were paying Rs 35 for one time and Rs 56 for two-time crossing at the toll plaza. Buses and trucks were charged Rs 104 (one-time crossing) and Rs 166 (two-time crossing).
The 81-km stretch from Phagwara to Ropar on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh highway was given to Rohan-Rajdeep Private Ltd by the state government under seven-year contract.
The road was handed over to the firm in September 2007 for operation and maintenance.
The company had established two toll plazas — one at Behram and second at Kathgarh — in Nawanshahr district and were charging toll from all vehicles, except two-wheelers.
Officials said earlier the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) decreased fares of its buses plying on the Jalandhar-Chandigarh route.
Balwinder Singh, general manager, Nawanshahr bus depot, said, “We have received verbal orders in this regard and they have been passed further.”
Singh said it was the need of the hour to decrease the fare after the toll plazas were removed.
Sahib Singh, who commutes from Nawanshahr to Ropar, said, “The government should have taken this step immediately. But it is better late than never. Reduction in the fare will provide a huge relief to passengers.”
The Phagwara-Nawanshahr-Ropar stretch has been declared the National Highway-344-A and included in the National Highway Development Programme (NHDP).