Private buses are finally back on the Kolkata roads. On Friday, the number of private buses on Kolkata and suburban roads increased. As a result, people got some relief in their daily struggle of finding public transport during the peak hours. However, to their utter shock when they boarded these private buses, they found that the fare had increased from the last time they travelled in them.
Many passengers complained to the All Bengal Bus and Minibus Coordination Committee that the ticket collectors charged a higher fare from them than the government-approved rates. The general secretary of the committee Rahul Chattopadhyay said the complainants also alleged that the government-approved rate list in the buses was also missing. These complaints were made by the passengers who travelled in bus number 18, 18 A, 12 C, 12 C/1 and the airport bus. “The association does not approve of overcharging. The matter is being investigated,” said Chattopadhyay.
The general secretary of City Suburban Bus Services maintained that there were many general complaints of overcharging. He assured that if a complaint is made against any specific bus driver or ticket collector, it will be investigated and action will be taken accordingly.
Meanwhile, a section of commuters felt since the fuel prices have been skyrocketing, passengers should be okay to shell out a little more for the ticket.
The members of the Joint Council of Bus Syndicates also held a meeting on Friday over the matter. According to the general secretary of the organisation, Tapan Bandyopadhyay, the bus operators don’t have a lot of alternatives but to increase the fare. Therefore, they have decided to put pressure on the Bengal government to reconsider its decision regarding the ticket charges. He also requested the cooperative banks to provide low-interest loans to bus operators during these tough times.