Kerala Bus Strike: Relief for Commuters as Private Bus Operators Calls off Indefinite Strike
New Delhi, Feb 18: Hundreds of commuters were left stranded in Kerala as the indefinite strike called by private bus owners entered its day three on Sunday. The bus operators went on an indefinite strike from Friday demanding a hike in the minimum bus fare and students ticket fare.
The state-wide strike has hit the passengers especially in central and northern parts of Kerala who depend more on private buses. There were also complaints of autorickshaw drivers who were demanding exorbitant rates in the wake of strike.
On Wednesday, February 14, the Kerala government increased the minimum fare for government and privately-run bus services from Rs 7 to Rs 8. The minimum fare for the fast passenger buses has been hiked from Rs 10 to Rs 11. The Kerala government had last revised the bus fares in March 2014.
Launching the strike, the private bus operators have demanded a minimum fare hike from Rs 7 to Rs 10. They have also demanded an increase in concession allowed to students by 50 percent. According to other media reports, after an informal discussion with the transport minister, bus owners are demanding only an increase only in students fare. Meanwhile, state leaders of the organisation will hold a discussion with Transport Minister A K Saseendhran in Kozhikode later today.
Around 60 percent of passengers in short-route services are school and college students. The rate was last revised in 2014. Since then, fuel prices and other expenses have increased manifold which is also becoming a major cause of concern for the bus owners.