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11-15% RTC fare hike likely by week-end

The A.P. State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has more or less finalised the quantum of hike in bus fares, which is likely to range from 11 to 15 per cent from the ‘Pallevelugu’ rural services to the ultra-modern ‘Vennela’ (sleeper buses).

Considering the political furore the fare hike is sure to create, the APSRTC management is keen to defer the announcement till the conclusion of the ongoing Assembly session by the end of this week.

The hike has become inevitable following the increase in the prices of high speed diesel, averaging at Rs. 6.11 a litre for the APSRTC across the State.

Passengers using the ‘Pallevelugu’ buses and ordinary services in urban areas constitute about 55 per cent of the Corporation’s everyday load, with the former accounting for almost 40 per cent, a senior official said. Currently, the Corporation runs about 22,500 buses on over 8,000 routes, including inter-State services, covering an approximate distance of a whopping 82 lakh km everyday.

The fresh burden on the APSRTC due to the increased diesel prices is estimated at Rs. 285 crore, apart from the operational losses to the tune of about Rs. 780 crore in the current fiscal.

The Corporation also has to grapple with the concessions offered to different sections of society that work out to about Rs. 780 crore, of which the government reportedly reimburses only about Rs. 200 crore.

Currently, about 1.5 crore people travel on RTC buses every day, compared to about 2.3 crore who patronise the Railways in the State. Given this figure, the management is trying to focus attention on its long-pending demand for paying 4 per cent sales tax on diesel, a privilege enjoyed by the Railways.

The APSRTC now pays 22.5 per cent as sales tax on the diesel its buses guzzle.

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