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Transport entrepreneurs demand hike in fares


KATHMANDU, MAR 03 -

Transport entrepreneurs have been pressing the government to jack up public transport fares in line with the recent hike in fuel prices. They have demanded a 5 percent increase in the fares at the earliest.

The Department of Transport Management is likely to hold a meeting with the National Federation of Nepalese Transport Entrepreneurs within a week to fix the fares. Transporters said that fares have had to be increased as fuel prices have gone up by more than Rs 5 per litre since November.

“We have asked the government to increase the fare by 5 percent as soon as possible,” said Dol Nath Kanal, general secretary of the transporters federation. He added that frequent changes in fuel prices and fare adjustment procedures had made it difficult for them to implement the ticket system on short and long haul routes as required by the government.

If the fares are adjusted as per the demand of transporters, they will increase by Rs 1 to Rs 72 depending on the distance. The last fare hike occurred on Nov 2, 2011 when tickets went up by 9.9 percent as a result of repeated fuel price hikes and pressure from transport entrepreneurs.

“The department will meet with transport entrepreneurs and finalise the fares,” said Kapil Dangol, director of the department. The new fares have to be approved by the Ministry of Labour and Transport Management.

The department and the transporters federation had agreed to increase fares by 5 percent in January following a rise in gasoline prices. However, the increase was not implemented as the government rolled back fuel prices soon after amid strong student protests.

On Jan 18, Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had raised diesel and petrol prices to Rs 85 and Rs 115 per litre, but retreated to Rs 81 and Rs 112 per litre after students took to the streets.

Last Saturday, NOC again jacked up gasoline prices by Rs 4 per litre citing ballooning international prices. Transport fares can be revised if the price goes by more than Rs 5 per litre as per an agreement reached between transporters and the government two years ago.

Posted on: 2012-03-03 09:23