Delhi slashes bus fares to battle pollution (Lead)
Commuters will now have to pay a flat fare of only Rs 10 to travel in air-conditioned buses and Rs 5 for non-AC buses.
"At present, the fares are in slabs of Rs 5, 10 and 15 for non-AC buses and Rs 15, 20 and 25 for AC buses. These have been reduced to a flat rate of Rs 5 for non-AC and Rs 10 for AC buses," Transport Minister Satyendar Jain said.
Jain said the reduced fares will come into force from January 1 and will be applicable for one month.
He added that the daily bus-pass rates have also been reduced from Rs 40-50 to a flat rate of Rs 20.
"The decision was taken to reduce the pollution level in Delhi, which is at peak during winter," Jain said. "We decided to reduce fares to encourage the use of public transport."
Jain hoped the decision would help bring down the number of cars and motorcycles on the roads.
The Delhi government runs some 4,500 buses.
A transport department official told IANS that the operational revenue of Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) ranges from Rs 2.25 crore to Rs 2.50 crore per day.
This may see a significant reduction due to the fare cuts if equivalent increase in ridership is not witnessed, the official said.
He added that just reduction in fares may not be enough to motivate people to opt for buses.
"Some people with bus passes also travel by metro during the evening hours due to heavy traffic and non-reliability of buses.
"A broader change in public transport system is needed to make it more reliable and punctual apart from making it economical," the official added.
Last month, pollution levels soared in Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world.
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