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Feb 4, 2010

Consumer body opposes ‘illegal, excess bus fare’

Coimbatore Consumer Cause has “strongly opposed” the strategy of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation in collecting more revenue against the interests of the people, by introducing over 200 semi-low-floor buses.These buses, flagged off recently, collect “exorbitant and illegal excess fare” more than twice that of the ordinary fare, it was pointed out.

In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the Secretary of CCC, K. Kathirmathiyon said that the Chief Minister had said that despite severe financial constraints to the Transport Department the Government never wanted to increase the bus fare since 2001.It is a fact that the bus fare is lower compared to that in many other States.

It is a policy decision taken by the Government in the interest of the people.But unfortunately TNSTC officials were collecting “excess bus fare” from the people in recent days by adopting different “unethical, illegal and unfair methods”.By mere replacement of existing vehicles, they had started collecting more than double the regular fare.As on date more than 200 buses are already collecting such “illegal fare”.

By merely claiming the buses as ‘Deluxe’, fare collected is close to 250 per cent more.If buses were to be operated as ‘Luxury’, permit for the same has to be obtained from Regional Transport Authority (RTA) for the same.

Replacement

The Regional Transport Officers had said that they had not issued any new permit for the buses and all the buses were only replacement for old vehicles and only ordinary permits were issued for those buses.If the same irregularity had been done by a private operator, the permits would have been cancelled.Unfortunately this unethical practice is being adopted by TNSTC buses and hence officials are not taking any action on the same.

As per the Motor Vehicle Rules the buses have to be operated as per the condition of the permit issued.Many old buses are being regularly replaced with new ones, both by TNSTC and by private operators.But now TNSTC is in the habit of claiming all the new buses as ‘Luxury’ for the sake of collecting excess fare.

In such case, private operators might also start claiming luxury fare since they too have new buses.The people are totally against the action of TNSTC, since their interests are affected.The association had been continuously representing the matter for the last two years.The issue has emerged as widespread agitation because more buses were named as semi low floor and luxury buses.

Coimbatore Consumer Cause had specifically pointed out that the officials were not bothered about the disrepute caused to the Government.The Government could verify the complaint by calling for a white paper from all Regional Transport Officers and District Collectors (Regional Transport Authorities) in respect of the “illegal excess fare” being collected now. Coimbatore Consumer Cause has urged the Chief Minister to intervene and stop this practice.

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