The Punjab government has decided to link bus fares with the cost of diesel and carry out a review every quarter. The move comes as the Central government has been following the policy of a calibrated review of diesel prices every fortnight, which has meant only an increase for some time now.
Public and private bus transporters, including PEPSU Road Transport Corporations (PRTC) and Punjab Roadways, have been issued directions in this regard.
The new mechanism to arrive at bus fares is likely to end the monopoly of the state government in fixing the prices.
Recently, with diesel prices increasing regularly, bus fares have also seen an increase.
"Bus fares will be increased or decreased by 0.40% for every percentage point fluctuation in diesel prices. This will help reduce the extra burden imposed on bus operators," said a senior PRTC official.
He added: "Motor vehicle tax will also be reviewed after three months. The decision has been notified and the first revision will be implemented from January 1, 2014 onwards," PRTC managing director Bhupinder Singh Rai said that reviewing the rates will benefit both transporters and commuters. "The process will be automated," he claimed, adding that
they were yet to decide on the exact mathematics of the review.
He added that the PRTC lost crores of rupees whenever diesel prices were hiked.
"The recent hike in diesel prices by Re 0.50 a litre will increase the operational cost of PRTC by Rs 1.5 crore a month."