Kochi: New bus fares are most likely to come into effect from February 1. A minimum charge of Rs 10, high night fares and totally free ride for students from poor families are likely, though a final consultation with the association of private bus owners will be held before announcing the proposals of the Transport Department.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reportedly given the nod to the proposals.
The demand of bus owners to raise the minimum fare to Rs 12 from the present Rs 8 has been turned down. As per the new fare system in the works, the minimum fare for a distance of 2.5 km will be Rs 10.
A significant proposal is regarding higher rates for night rides, an unprecedented move in state public transport system.
The authorities have decided for free rides for students from families who have been issued the Yellow ration cards denoting their Below Poverty Line status.
The minimum fare for the student concession ticket will be Rs 5. Currently, students pay Re 1 for 1.5 km and Rs 2 for a 5-km ride.
The bus owners had threatened to go on strike a few times, but the government promised to raise the fares, but only after the Makaravilakku Festival at the famed Sabarimala temple.