Consumer rights

Get ready for another bus fare hike

For the second time in less than a year, the government plans to increase bus fares for long journeys. As plans are underway to raise tariffs by 11%, consumer rights campaigners have criticized the government for ignoring consumer interests.

After protests last week from transport contractors who threatened to halt operation of the long route last week demanding a review of fares following the huge rise in fuel prices, the government is preparing to raise fares , according to officials.

Transport operators have given the government until Thursday to revise fares.

“Despite fuel price increases, it will not be wise to increase fares as consumers are already suffering from massive inflation. Government should instead focus on making public transport affordable for all,” Jyoti said. Baniya, President of Forum for Consumer Rights in Nepal.

“When it comes to public service, the state should not look at profits and losses. It is the basic responsibility of the state to make public services affordable,” he added.

Last year, in mid-January, the government increased bus fares on interprovincial routes by 28%.

Namaraj Ghimire, director general of the Department of Transport Management, said a committee formed to review bus fares has already prepared a report recommending adjustments. “On Tuesday, we will send the report to the ministry. If the ministry agrees, new tariffs will be put in place,” Ghimire said.

He said the fare adjustment will be made based on fuel price increases over the past few months.

“We have developed a tariff adjustment model. If the price of fuel drops, bus operators will have to reduce fares accordingly,” Ghimire said.

Baniya, however, disagrees with the government’s suggestion that it would be impractical to adjust tariffs from time to time. “Because increases in transport tariffs have an impact on the whole economy, the government should be extremely sensitive before making any revisions,” Baniya said. He also said the government should strive to promote alternative modes of transport to reduce reliance on conventional fossil fuel-based transport.

The cost of diesel has increased by 48% over the past year. Data from the Nepal Oil Corporation Limited shows that last year on January 18 the cost of diesel was Rs 93 and to date it has increased 20 times to Rs 138 per litre.

Last week, on March 16, the Company raised the price of a liter of diesel to an all-time high of Rs143 from Rs138 and petrol to Rs150 from Rs155.

A BBC report from March 7 said petrol prices hit a new record high as oil and gas prices soared amid fears of a global economic shock from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. He said oil jumped to $139 a barrel at one point, the highest level in nearly 14 years.

“For weeks we have been operating our buses at a loss, and many bus operators have parked their buses due to rising fuel prices and falling passenger numbers,” said Yogendra Karmacharya, president of the federation. .

He said they had planned to halt services from Sunday but postponed the plan after the government promised to revise fares. “If there is no adjustment by Wednesday, bus operators will start protesting from Thursday,” Karmacharya said.