It’s not fair

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on January 23, 2018

The bus fare hike in Tamil Nadu will hit the poor

Raising ticket rates of public transport is a hot-potato affair across the globe. Just last month London saw massive public rallies against rail fare hikes. Last week, Chennai and several other parts of Tamil Nadu witnessed angry reactions, online and offline, against the State Transport Corporation’s move to raise bus ticket rates by 20 to 54 per cent. Transport authorities say the hike, coming after a gap of six years, is inevitable given the precarious condition of corporation buses, increases in fuel prices and salary increments.

The reasoning may seem logical but such steep hikes hurtlow-income group commuters and labourers significantly. Whilethe middle and upper middle class generally avoid regular use of public transport as they now have affordable alternative private transport, lower-income groups rely solely on public transport — buses and suburban rail services. And most of them travel long distances to their workplace due to the exorbitant rents prevailing inside or near the city. This makes their current predicament even worse. The government must ease their pain, either by rolling back the hikes or by introducing flexible monthly or yearly passes at affordable rates. One needs to see how even such a measure will go down with daily wage-earners who may not have the wherewithal to part with bulk amounts.

Also, one fails to understand the socio-political logic in delaying fare hikes for such long periods. This kind of populism can only be counter-productive. If at all the transport department has to update fares to find funds for upgrading its fleet, it can seek several other routes including approaching private partners or the markets, or even raising fares at gradual intervals and not deliver a rude shock suddenly. The government must understand that providing public transport is not a profit-churning business, it is a social service.

Deputy Editor

Published on January 23, 2018

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor


This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.