Sunday, February 7, 2016

Public transport fares slashed, albeit nominally

Department of Transport Management has today slashed the public transport fares, albeit nominally that is unlikely to benefit the commuters.  The new fare will come into effect from tomorrow, according to the department.
But the fare cut will not benefit the Kathmanduits. With the reduction in transport fare, minimum transport fare in the Kathmandu valley will remain unchanged at Rs 13 and maximum will be Rs 24. Similarly, fare distance of up to 16 km also remains unchanged. Fare for trips between 16 km and 25 km will come down by Re 1 to Rs 24 from Rs 25. Similarly, passengers will have pay Rs 5 less for every 100 km. The price rate of taxi per km will be Rs 35, a reduction of Rs 1 per km from earlier.
The fares have been reduced by 2.53 per cent in public transport, 1.65 per cent in taxis and 3.76 per cent in Hill cargo and 3.28 per cent in Tarai cargo transport, according to the department.
Likewise, the fare for Kathmandu-Narayanghat-Hetauda has come down to Rs 412 from existing Rs 423, while travelling from Kathmandu to Birgunj or Birgunj to Kathmandu will cost Rs 491, down from Rs 504.
Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation approved the department's decision to cut the fare today afternoon.
Last week, Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers had directed the department to reduce transport fare in line with plummeting fuel prices. When the government last revised the transport fares on September 10, 2015, petrol sold at Rs 104 and diesel at Rs 81 per litre compared to the recent price of Rs 99 and Rs 75, respectively.
Though, the government officials claimed that the new adjustment is scientific, the fare has been reduced on the basis of falling fuel price only. "We have reduced the fare on the basis of Scientific Fare Determination Mechanism," director at the department Mukti KC said.
Fuel carries 35 per cent weightage in the fare adjustment process. Other factors like salary/allowance of drivers/staff, price of spare parts, maintenance, battery, and depreciation, among other indicators, carry 65 per cent weightage.
"The Scientific Fare Determination Mechanism permits us to revise transportation fare only, if price of fuel goes up or down by at least Rs 5 per litre," he said, adding that they have adjusted the new fare as price of petrol and diesel has lately gone down by Rs 5 and Rs 6 per litre, respectively.
However, consumer rights groups claim that passengers do not benefit also because of weak monitoring and implementation by the government side. "The transporters' syndicate is stronger than the government," they claimed, adding that the transporters also have political patronage that the consumers donot have.
But, the government officials – as usual – reiterate that they 'will adopt effective monitoring mechanism and will take action against overcharging transporters."

No comments: