I note with trepidation that a substantial increase in bus fares is expected on Valentines Day 2013, to take account of a delayed price hike due to fuel price increases and other increases in running costs, but most especially the hike by the Govt. departments and authorities, in the price of a bus transfer, a route permit, and the charge for a log sheet. Remember the private buses additionally pay money to time keepers and protection money too, estimated by the private bus organization at Rs70M a day, all of which are transferred in the end to the commuter.
The hapless long suffering commuter and bus traveler is yet again bearing the brunt of the increase in charges faced by the bus operators. I did hear a while ago that the Transport Authorities wish to color code public transport, so that light blue will signify private buses, and red the State Service, whilst another color would be used for school vans and such like. If this is enforced, the commuter will bear the cost eventually. Is that fair?
As a matter of public policy, we MUST encourage the use of public transport at the expense of other forms, and we have seen an explosion in the number of motorbikes, and three wheelers in the morning commute. This is due to the costs of transport, and inconvenience, has turned more passengers to seek alternative means, thereby adding to congestion and travel times.
Competition improves service, and more buses reduce overcrowding especially during the rush hours. A crying need that must be addressed is the absence of night buses which are sorely lacking, inconveniencing the shift workers, who have to use more expensive means of transport to and from work in the off hours. The authorities instead of piling on more charges must seek to reduce the burden on private bus operators, while getting their commitment to stop overcrowding in the interests of the commuter and improving their service standards that appear to be a bone of contention.
The public cost of longer commutes and waiting in traffic jams are immeasurable. A transportation policy where the commuter’s burden is reduced so that more traffic will move from private modes to public, freeing up valuable space on the morning commute, should be the priority. The current approach is plain WRONG, to burden the commuters further, driving more into private transport, especially the ubiquitous motorbike that has trebled in quantity on the morning commute leading to aggravated delays.