Published: 13th June 2022
School bus drivers in Mumbai hint at 20% fare hike, adding to parents' worry
Parents allege that the schools have not yet informed them of the increase in fares. As they got a hint of it from the bus drivers, they have started looking for other options to ferry their wards
As schools reopened across Mumbai on Monday, June 13, the school bus operators in the city have hinted that they would increase the bus fare for students by 20 per cent or more. The move is set to be implemented in the current academic year itself. This was informed by Ramesh Maniyan, office-bearer of the School Bus Owners' Association (SBOA).
Maniyan is also the office-bearer of the Mumbai Bus Malak Sanghatana. He informed that the charges for ferrying students will shoot up by at least 20 per cent, but they will differ according to areas and schools. The price hike will be based on the fees that were fixed before the pandemic.
He added that they were forced to increase the price due to several reasons, like hike in fuel prices, hike in the salaries of drivers and other staff, increased cost of maintaining the bus, RTO fees, traffic fines and penalties paid in the last two years. He has explained that even though their business was closed for the last two years due to the pandemic, the salaries of drivers and other staff, like cleaners and female attendants, has gone up, as reported by PTI.
He also said that the life of a school bus in Mumbai is about eight years, while it is about 15 years in other parts of India. The drivers had requested the government to allow them to operate the old buses for another two years as the vehicles were not running during the pandemic, but it was turned down. "If the government had accepted the demand, the burden (of bus charges) would not have been passed on to the parents of students," he added.
This news has upset the parents, who, it has been reported, are already bearing the burden of inflation. They also allege that the schools have not yet informed them of the increase in fares. As they got a hint of the hike from the bus drivers, they have started looking for other options to ferry their wards, like hiring a cab for a group of students in the locality, which they say would be comparatively cheaper.
"My daughter's school is located in Byculla area. A school van operator earlier used to charge Rs 900 per month for the journey from Kalachowki area (about three km away). Though the school has not yet conveyed anything about the bus charges being increased, the old operator has told some parents that they are going to charge Rs 1,300 to Rs 1,500, which is quite high for such a short distance," a parent said, as reported by PTI.