After years of complaints over the private buses fleecing passengers during long weekends and holiday seasons, the Regional Transport Office has finally decided to put a check on such operators. Transport Commissioner V P Ikkeri said the authority will write to the government after the elections, seeking changes in the rules as the present conditions do not give powers to fix fares for the buses running on contract carriage.
Thousands of commuters who travel during the long weekends and ahead of festival days end up paying double and triple the regular fare, thanks to the department’s failure to regulate private bus operators. RTO and Transport Department has been accused of ignoring the issue for years. Ikkeri said RTO officials, following a three-month-long special drive from November 2018 to February 2019, had suspended permits of 368 buses and cancelled 59 others for three consecutive violations. Rs 25 lakh has been collected during this time, an official said. According to Ikkeri, the department has held a meeting with private bus operators and told them to charge the same fares as KSRTC on respective routes. “The private operators have requested that they be allowed to hike fares by 20% on special occasions. We will take a decision on the same within 15 days.
As of now, those charging more than that will risk losing their licence,” he said. This is not the first time the RTO officials have talked about regulating fares of private buses. In 2017, a proposal was sent to the Transport Department suggesting minimum and maximum fare per kilometre for private buses operating on long routes. It remains to be seen whether the department will consider the proposal seriously this time.