Public transport fare to go up by 5.63 pc

The government is hiking up the public transport fare by 5.63 per cent from November 1, against the instruction of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) to fix the rates based on practice in South Asian region.

The Department of Transport Management has decided to increase the fare despite recent reduction in oil prices citing that the decision to review the transport fees was taken before the fuel price was reviewed.

According to the department officials, the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport had given them a go-ahead to raise the transport fare two months ago and the department took a decision last Monday to finally implement the decision.

With the new rate, commuters will have to pay Rs 16, up from Rs 15, for a ride on short routes, while cab charge has been fixed at Rs 40 per kilometre. The department officials said that while the flag down rate in the taxis will remain constant at Rs 14, the cab fare has been increased by 6.58 per cent. Currently, the cab fare per kilometre is Rs 37.

“The fare of cargo carriers has gone up by 5.27 per cent in hilly routes and 5.21 per cent in Tarai routes,” said Mohan Bhattarai, mechanical engineer at the department. He added they were supposed to adjust the fares before Dashain, however, the plan had been postponed so as not to inconvenience festive movements.

The increment in cargo carriers’ fare means transporters will be permitted to charge Rs 10.63 per kilometre per tonne in hilly route — Narayanghat-Pokhara-Kathmandu and Rs 5.30 per kilometre per tonnes in Tarai. Department officials said that change in fare is in line with annual review of transport fare based on multiple components, like prices of spare parts, fuel, bank interest rate and inflation rate.

However, the decision to raise fares is against the instruction issued by the CIAA in 2010.

Sources said that the department was forced to increase the fares four years ago without carrying out the study as suggested by the anti-graft body, as the Ministry of Finance had failed to provide the budget for it. “After that, the CIAA has not shown any interest in the issue and the department is adjusting the fare as per its own set mechanism,” said the sources.

The department revises fares ‘scientifically’ by taking into consideration the changes in fuel prices and non-fuel components like bank interest rate, inflation, vehicle price, cost of spare parts and lubricants, and staff salary.

Source: THT