After eight days of strike by the staff of state transport corporation workers, the government has hiked the bus fare by about 20 to 54% on January 19, which came to effect from 20th. The government had given an explanation that this hike in bus fare is ‘inevitable and unavoidable’, since the fuel, maintenance and other miscellaneous costs have gone up. Protests against the hike in bus fares in Tamil Nadu continued across the state for the fourth day Tuesday as the main opposition DMK petitioned the Chief Minister K Palaniswami, seeking its rollback. College students held protests in different parts, including Chennai, Karur, Coimbatore, Thanjavur and Tiruchirappalli, with several of them boycotting classes opposing the government move.
Commuters continued to rush into the railway stations as several felt travel by trains “was cheaper” compared to bus fares. Public also demanded that more trains be operated on various shorter distance routes connecting local junctions.
The opposition leader M K Stalin cited as “mere excuse” the government’s defence that the increase was effected due to a host of factors including rise in fuel price, maintenance cost, salaries and pension and purchase of new buses to increase efficiency. Stalin also suggested measures such as streamlining the administration of transport corporations, operating buses on profitable routes and using advertisement for revenue generation to make them economically viable. The hike which came into effect from January 20 has triggered protests from day one with people hitting the streets at many places besides venting their anger on social media platforms against the “steep revision”.