Bus travel in Punjab has become costlier with the transport department increasing the fare from 5 to 10 paise per kilometre for different categories from April 1.
The recent hike in diesel prices forced the government to take the step.
According to information received from the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), the government issued a notification to PRTC and Punjab Roadways on Friday, asking them to revise the fare with immediate effect.
According to the notification, the fare has been increased from 87 paise to 92 paise per km for ordinary buses, and for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) buses, it has been raised from Rs 1.04 to Rs 1.10 per kilometre. For deluxe buses, it has been raised from Rs 1.56 to Rs 1.65 per kilometre and for super deluxe buses, from Rs 1.74 to Rs 1.84 per kilometre.
The sudden increase has taken commuters unawares, leading to arguments between them and conductors. The conductor of a private bus plying from Jalandhar to Ludhiana said there had been an increase of Rs 5 in the fare for Phagwara, Goraya and Ludhiana since April 2, but people were not aware of it and refused to shell out the extra money.
PRTC Kapurthala depot general manager HS Dhillon said the fare had been revised for all routes and was effected from Saturday in government-run buses, though most private transporters enforced the hike on Sunday, and a few were yet to enforce it.
Transport minister Ajit Singh Kohar said the hike had been necessitated by the increase in diesel prices. He said they had to consider the grievances of private transporters and the government transport department so that they did not incur losses.