From today, AC bus ride cheaper by 50%
From Friday , AC bus travel will get cheaper with the BEST slashing fares by up to 50%–minimum fare will reduce from Rs 30 to Rs 15 for a 2km journey . Regular bus fares will also reduce by Rs 2 for certain distances–8km, 12km, 17km and 25km.
A sharp decline in daily bus commuters–from 43 lakh seven years ago to less than 30 lakh–and heavy losses (Rs 80 crore annually) incurred by the AC fleet prompted the undertaking to slash the fares.“There was also stiff competition from cab aggregators like Ola and Uber. Nearly eight lakh commuters migrated to AC cabs in the past two years,“ said a BEST panel member.
TOI was the first to report about the BEST undertaking’s decision to reduce AC bus fares by up to 50%.
Among the facilities to be introduced from Friday are “Happy Hours“ discounted daily bus passes for travel between 11am and 5pm and corporate passes–private companies and government agencies can buy 100-400 smartcards or passes in bulk and give them to employees for commuting.
With the AC fare reduction, the BEST expects longer queues at the bus stops from this weekend. Said a regular commuter, “Now, if I will board an AC bus for short-distance travel. After all, you can travel in AC comfort for a fare as low as Rs 15.“
BEST general manager Jagdish Patil said the undertaking also faced competition from other operators, such as AC buses in Navi Mumbai which offer low fares. “We expect to increase our passenger strength and plan to offer wi-fi and mobile app-based services in AC buses,“ he added.
“In the past, monthly pass would be calculated for 24 days’ travel, now it will be for 22 days. Similarly , for a quarterly pass, it was a 72-day fare, which has been reduced to 66day travel. Commuters will save on monthly passes, while BEST will get revenue from them 30 days in advance for the entire month,“ Patil said.“The average cost of a oneway trip will reduce to Rs 6-6.5, though the minimum bus fare stays at Rs 8.“
BEST panel member Ravi Raja suggested that minimum bus fare be brought down to Rs 6 (from Rs 8). “This will help in reverse migration from the share-autos as over 50% commuters travel on short-distance feeder routes in our buses.“
amar ujala newspaper 01/07/2016 : http://epaper.amarujala.com/login.php