Chennai bus fare hiked by AIADMK govt, with no service guarantees

The Tamil Nadu Government has announced a tariff revision for bus services in the State, with a stiffer hike for Chennai. The report in The Hindu is here. We will follow up with reactions and analysis. What do you think about the move? Will it lead to improvement in service, net addition of buses, and better travel products?

What is the tariff going to be for the Travel As You Please passes of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Chennai? These poorly marketed products of the MTC enable unlimited travel on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. As we have noted elsewhere, the MTC treats these passes not as a tool to enable easier travel, but as a favour done to passengers. Their availability is limited, both in terms of places where they are sold, the dates of sale and the timings. More here on that.

Incidentally, the government move has not taken into account, the presence of the Chennai Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority, which by law should have been consulted on the hike, and public reactions invited. The CUMTA remains a law on paper in Tamil Nadu, enacted only as a fulfillment of conditions for the JNNURM funding for MTC buses.

In the case of the proposed electricity tariff hike, the Jayalalithaa government has been careful to say it is submitting a proposal to the regulator. These two moves show the farcical approach to regulation in services offered by the Tamil Nadu government – while costs rise, and the regulators remain dysfunctional, there is no guarantee that better services will follow.

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