Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) has increased fares across all its services, except night express buses, in the backdrop of losses and rising diesel prices. The minimum hike is Rs 5 and travel in AC 'Shivneri' buses between Mumbai's Dadar and Swargate in Pune will now cost Rs 75 more. So, instead of Rs 450, travellers will have to shell out Rs 525 for Pune Shivneri AC buses.
Similarly, passengers will have to shell out Rs 860 instead of Rs 740 for the Mumbai-Aurangabad journey and Rs 730 instead of Rs625 for Mumbai-Vijaydurg (Ratnagiri district) journey on ordinary buses.
The new fares were effective from Monday, October 25, said the corporation.
"Ticket prices of night express buses are 18 per cent higher than rates of ordinary buses running during the day. This additional rate has been cancelled from tomorrow and ticket rates for day and night ordinary buses will remain the same," the corporation said in a release.
The corporation also increased the dearness allowance (DA) of its employees to 17 per cent from the existing 12 per cent ahead of Diwali, reported Moneycontrol. The move will benefit about 95,000 employees. The corporation also announced, "Diwali Bhet" (bonus) of ₹2,500 and ₹5,000 to its employees and officers, respectively.
The corporation has been severely hit due to curtailed operations amid COVID and lockdowns. The move will help the corpotaion earn an additional ₹ 50 crore. "We have decided to hike fares by around 17.17 per cent mainly due to a rise in diesel prices. The revised fares will be effective from (October 25) midnight. MSRTC is revising its bus fare after a gap of three years," said Shekhar Channe, vice-chairman and managing director of the state-run transport undertaking.
In June 2018, MSRTC had hiked fares on all its buses by 18 per cent.
In June this year, the State Government sanctioned ₹600 crore financial assistance for the corporation. The state transport department has also planned to monetise its assets by handing over development rights of its lands, which includes 247 bus depots and 578 bus stations to private parties. In the pre-COVID era, it catered to about 6.7 million passengers daily. The corporation is facing annual losses of about Rs 7,500 crores, according to Hindustan Times.