The Punjab Motor Union (PMU), having a combined fleet of about 8,000 buses including 5,500 mini buses on Monday threatened to stop plying their buses from July 1 if the state government failed to reduce the tax and increase the bus fare by 10 paise per kilometre.
“If our demands are not accepted, the bus operators will hand over the keys of their buses to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. We are passing through a crisis as the operational cost has gone up due to increased diesel prices,” PMU president Avtar Henry, working president Jagdish Sahni and secretary Rajinder Singh Bajwa said at a press conference after holding a meeting of the union here. Henry is a for mer Cong ress MLA, while Sahni was a BJP MLA before he switched over to the Congress.
The PMU demanded Re 1 per km reduction in the motor vehicle tax, 80 days’ exemption from payment of tax in a year, and a hike in bus fares from current 83 paise to 93 paise per km. The union also demanded a sharp cut in the VAT (value-added tax) on diesel and that bus stand fee be charged at the first stage only. “We should be exempted from paying the toll tax as we are paying motor vehicle tax and cess on diesel,” said the union leaders.
They also underlined the need for uniformity in the time tables of the buses, saying that the rule of one bus of the state undertaking and one bus of private operators should be put in place.
“Earlier, a bus was given 15-20 minutes at each bus counter and now 2-3 minutes are given to get the passengers at each bus stand,” the union leaders said.