PMPML bus fares

PMPML bus fares were a hot topic of discussion over the last 0-10 months. First, PMPML increased its fares when diesel prices went up in the middle of last year (2008). This increase was disproportionately high compared to the diesel price rise. Later, when diesel prices dropped, PMPML reluctantly decreased its fares after much hue and cry, but this time the decrease was disproportionately little. Many citizens' groups, including Parisar, having been protesting regularly against such ill-treatment of PMPML commuters, who are often from the poorer segments of society, when improving the efficiency and performance of PMPML can yield far greater returns. Moreover, preliminary analysis suggests that the fare hike has not helped PMPML much in terms increasing its revenues due to a fall in ridership.

Early 2009, PMPML also selectively and significantly raised the fares of its AC services running on the BRT pilot corridor, saying these were premium services and would help boost its revenues. AC bus fares were earlier the same as normal bus fares and the AC buses used to be preferred choices. After the fare increase, the ridership on the BRT corridor has fallen drastically. For example, the average load factor of buses fell sharply from 66.7 in the first half of March 2009 to 25.6 in the second half after the fare revision on 15th March 2009, though it recovered somewhat to reach 38 by May 2009 – but still only 56% of the pre-fare rise load.

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