Private bus operators demand doubling of bus fares in Bengal

Kolkata, May 8 (PTI) Private bus operators in West Bengal have demanded doubling of fares and subsidy for plying their vehicles in seven COVID-19-free districts of the state, bus owners' associations said on Friday.

Joint Council of Bus Syndicates general secretary Tapan Banerjee said, it was not even possible to meet the fuel prices by carrying only 20 passengers in a bus, as stipulated by the state government for maintaining social distancing norms.

The matter was raised during meetings between representatives of the bus owners' associations in the seven green districts and state Transport department officials on Thursday.

The owners are eager to run their buses provided the state government ensures that they are compensated for the loss, he said.

He claimed that even doubling of fares would not cover half the cost of plying a bus as each vehicle with a seating capacity of 45 to 55 passengers, on an average, carries 65 to 70 persons.

'So we have requested the government to pay subsidy to meet the loss,' he said.

Banerjee said that the officials have told the private bus owners' representatives that their demands and views will be conveyed to the higher authorities.

Jhargram, Bankura, Purulia, South and North Dinajpur, Coochbehar and Alipurduar have been mapped as green zone districts in West Bengal.

Private bus operators have so far refused to ply their vehicles in any of the seven districts claiming that it will lead to huge financial loss for the owners. PTI AMR MM MM