Bhubaneswar: Buoyed by the increasing ridership in Mo Bus, the Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) has planned to continue with the reduced fares for the AC buses which was recently introduced on a trial basis.
In November last year, the CRUT had announced to reduce AC bus fares up to 38 per cent and rationalise the fare structure for all buses from December 1 to January 31. While an official announcement will be made by the CRUT, Wednesday, official sources have confirmed that the existing fares will continue.
“AC bus fares were 60 per cent to 140 per cent higher than non-AC buses. While a minimum fare was reduced from Rs 8 to Rs 5, the maximum fare was slashed from Rs 100 to Rs 70. With revised rates, the difference between fare of an AC and non-AC buses was reduced to about 30 per cent. This has increased our ridership. So, we are planning to make the adjusted fares as permanent,” a source at CRUT said.
Within one month of enrolling the new fares, CRUT had earlier stated that its ridership had witnessed a 23 per cent growth since October 2019. While the Mo Bus had reached 1 lakh ridership in October, it had 1,23,016 passengers recorded by January 6.
CRUT which started functioning in 2018 is reported to cover 73 per cent area of the Capital city and connects its surrounding cities like Cuttack, Puri and Khurda. With a fleet of 200 buses, CRUT’s buses make about 1,800 trips every day. While the Master Canteen to Nandankanan is the busiest and most profitable route, buses to Jatni and Bharatpur, or nearby cities like Puri and Cuttack, which are not serviced by auto-rickshaws, are most popular.
While the reduced fares have been appreciated by urban planners and commuters, social activists have thrown a word of caution for the CRUT’s ambitious plans. “If CRUT continues to provide rebated services it may bear the same fate as the erstwhile Bhubaneswar Puri Transport Corporation Limited (BPTCL) which could only generate revenue of Rs 8.5 crore against an investment of Rs 185 crore,” said social activist Debjeet Routray.
Sources believe that if the reduced fares are to be continued, the change in fare structure will result in 41 per cent of non-AC passengers experiencing lower fares while around 9 per cent passengers experiencing slight increase of 1 to 2 rupees in fare. However, there will be no change in fare for rest 50 per cent of non AC bus commuters.
Commenting on this, CRUT’s General Manager, Dipti Mahapatro, had said, “CRUT is a public serving organisation and its main objective is to serve the people of the city. Thus, profit-making is the least concern for the organisation and providing the best services is the prime motive.”