‘No immediate plan to increase RTC bus fares ’

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VIJAYAWADA, APR 05,
Atchannaidu vows to put the corporation back on track
With the prices of petrol and diesel soaring to a new high, there were fears that the AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) would increase the bus fare.
Seeking to allay passengers’ fears, Transport Minister K. Atchannaidu here on Wednesday made it clear that was no such proposal for the time being.
He said the government was considering reducing tax on diesel at least in the rural pockets. The government might also share the burden if Palle Velugu services incurred losses.
In reply to a question after flagging off 10 high-end (Amaravati) buses at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS), he said the public transport giant had just started recovering from financial losses.
Occupancy ratio
“Fortunately, we have a very capable officer who is sure to lend his expertise to the organisation’s recovery,” he said referring to Surendra Babu who recently assumed charge as the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the Transport Corporation.
On Amaravati buses, he said the occupancy ratio was between 70 % and 75 %.
The Minister said the government was ready to do whatever it takes to put the organisation back on the rails.
“I am confident that the APSRTC will tide over its financial crisis in the next one year,” he said.
He spoke of new proposals being considered to shore up the revenue of the public transport sector. “We have many good places which could be hired out on BOT (Build, Operate, Transport) to generate income,” he said.
Citing the example of parcel services launched by the RTC which had been successful, he said in the past this sector, when operated by a private party, generated an income of ?9 crore.

Circular withdrawn

“Now, it fetches us ? 40 crore,” he said, adding that taking a step forward, the RTC was toying with the idea of introducing exclusive cargo buses. Referring to the controversial Circular 7 which envisaged tough austerity measures such as down-sizing the staff and one-man service in the buses, the Minister said it had been withdrawn as the government would not do anything that was against the interests of the employees and the workers.

Mr. Surendra Babu, Executive Directors, Divisional Manager and a host of other officials were present.

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