Fuel price hike: Transport corporations gets poorer
CHENNAI: The recent hike in fuel prices has added more salt to the injuries of the state transport corporations (STCs). With the government temporarily scrapping the diesel subsidy, the corporations are forced to bear the additional financial burden of Rs 1 crore a day, said a transport department official. “As a result, the daily losses have crossed the Rs 9 crore mark,” the official added.
To compensate the losses, the corporations have started to cut down services along routes where the daily ticket collection is below par. Operations have been altered in 4,000 routes and completely stopped in 2,000 odd routes, say sources in the state transport department.
Until last year, nearly 9,000 government buses were operated along 21,000 routes.
The corporations incurred a daily loss of Rs 8 crore a day due to various reasons. To overcome this, the ticket fare was increased. However, this move backfired. Nearly 30 lakh passengers moved to other modes of transport as they found their bus rides too expensive.
After a series of protests, the government was forced to increase the pay to workers as directed by the Madras High Court.
This consumed nearly 14 % of the increased daily collection through ticket sales. The final blow came in the form of sharp rise in diesel prices.
Of the total operational cost, diesel contributed to nearly 28 % and the government was bearing 80 % of the amount spend towards this component.
The government stopped this subsidy soon after the bus fare hike thereby corporations on the lurch. On an average, all the eight state transport corporations together consume nearly 20 lakh litres of diesel. This has come down to 17-18 lakh as corporations have reduced services to keep the losses in check.