‘RTA has bowed to pressure by private bus owners and raised fares unilaterally’
The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxists) staged a protest here on Saturday against the Dakshina Kannada Regional Transport Authority (RTA) hiking the travel fares of private buses unilaterally without holding public consultation.
Speaking on the occasion near the Clock Tower, Sunil Kumar Bajal, secretary, Mangaluru City South unit of the CPI(M), said that bowing to pressure by private bus owners the RTA has hiked the fares up to 50 %. This is against the public interest and no public consultation was done before allowing the private operators to hike the fares.
“It is the unilateral move by the Deputy Commissioner of Dakshina Kannada who also heads the RTA,” Mr. Bajal said, adding that with this the RTA and the Deputy Commissioner have violated the guidelines issued by the State government for hiking the travel fares of private buses.
He said that the COVID-19 lockdown has hit not only the private bus operators but common persons in general. Daily wagers, small shop keepers, students, and those who earn low wages used buses for travel. The hike in fares has dealt all of them a double blow. Mr. Bajal said that when the private bus operators earlier had hiked the fares by 20%, the DYFI had submitted a memorandum to the district in-charge Minister Kota Srinivas Poojary to call the meeting of the RTA, listen to the people, and later take a decision on hiking the fares. The district administration had then agreed for the same. But now without conducting any public hearing the administration has allowed to hike the fares. It showed that the district administration favours private bus operators, he said.
The RTA and the district administration now should withhold its order allowing hike in fares, Mr. Bajal said.