Hyderabad: The Telangana State Road Transport Corporation’s (TSRTC) decision to hike bus pass and ticket prices has not gone down well with commuters. Across the board, from students to private company employees, daily travellers are seething with anger, as in some cases people now have to pay a substantially higher amount.
“After bus fares were increased by the TSRTC recently, middle-class monthly budgets have been affected,” said Arun, a native of Kerala who works at Sree Gokulam Chits and Finance in Hyderabad. He added that the cost of bus tickets for his daily commute began touching Rs 2000 a month, due to which he finally got himself a monthly bus pass.
In March, the TSRTC decided to round-off ticket prices to the nearest denomination of Rs 5. Meaning, if a ticket cost Rs 16, it would be rounded-off at Rs 15, and if the fare totalled to Rs 18, then it would rounded to Rs 20.
The TSRTC also introduced a ‘diesel cess’ of Rs 2 per commuter on its Palle Velugu and city ordinary service, and Rs 5 per passenger for its City Metro, Deluxe, Express, and Super Luxury services. With this, ticket prices more or less have increased by Rs 10 per commuter in most of the bus routes.
Thanks to increasing diesel rates, the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation also hiked the cost of its passes by about Rs 200 a month. New rates were applicable from April 1.
Like Arun many regular bus commuters told Siasat.com that using the bus services are now not the cheapest mode of commuting. “TSRTC increases its ticker prices every year and that’s not a problem. But this time the price they have increased it by almost 50 percent,” said Geeta, another commuter.
Geeta added that she purchases a ticker on a daily basis which cost her around Rs 70. ”I travel from Hyderguda to Koti women’s college via Mehdipatnam. Now it costs me more than Rs 100 on a daily basis,” she said.
Krishna Priya, a student of B.Tech at the Joginpally B.R. Engineering College, said that she spends almost 50 percent of her pocket money on bus fares. “I used to travel from Zoopark to Moinabad for 25 Rs but now I have to spend around 50 rupees on a regular basis. It’s difficult for students who don’t earn and depend on their parents”, she added.
Siasat.com tried to speak to some TSRTC conductors as well, who are facing public ire over the issue. In fact, initially after the price hike, many commuters were even seen arguing with conductors. However, TSRTC employees refused to talk when approached by thus reporter
“I prefer to take a sharing auto, as it costs the same as the bus. I travel from Rajendra Nagar to Lakdikapull via Mehdipatnam, and the price of the ticker has increased from Rs 15 to 25. A sharing charges Rs 20 from Attapur to Mehdipatnam,” said Fathima, another commuter.
In 2019, TSRTC employees went on a massive protest and strike for 55 days, with a charter of 26 demands. Among them, one of their major demands was a merger of TSRTC, an autonomous body under the government, with the government, so that employees receive the benefits on par with government employees.
However, a small section of TSRTC commuters also said that the price hike of bus passes and ticket fares has not affected them much as well. ”Bus passes used to cost Rs 1100 earlier, and now it is Rs 1300. So an amount of Rs 200 does not affect a bus pass use, but maybe it has impacted someone who purchases tickets daily for travel,” opined Raghav, a student from the city.