Bengaluru: Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy on Monday said bus fares can be reduced only if student subsidies provided by way of concessional bus passes was entirely reimbursed by the State government to transport corporations.
Speaking to reporters, Reddy said the student subsidies provided by the four transport corporations (KSRTC, NWKRTC, NEKRTC and BMTC) totalled to Rs 720 crore per annum.
“At present, only Rs 200 crore is being reimbursed to the transport corporations. We can consider bus fare reduction if the subsidies are entirely reimbursed. I will speak to the chief minister in this regard,” he said while replying to queries whether any final decision had been taken on reduction of fares following the fall in diesel prices.
He said the State had requested the Centre to waive excise duties while purchasing buses. The exemption would help KSRTC to save Rs 160 crore and BMTC Rs 105 crore per annum.
The minister also countered JD(S) leader and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy’s allegation that the transport corporations were registering losses after Reddy took charge of the transport portfolio. Reddy released statistics stating that the corporations were making losses since 2000-2001 and even during the tenure of Kumaraswamy as chief minister.
He said the transport corporations were making losses due to two-fold increase in diesel prices and three-fold increase in salary costs since 2008.
Reddy said the combined salary costs in four corporations increased from Rs 325 crore in 2008 to Rs 1,045 crore in 2014.
The minister said even transport corporations in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad had reported heavy losses.