Why Chennai Mini Bus tariffs are likely to be higher

A piece by Jarett Walker on the website “Human Transit” dealing with the economics of bus systems with particular reference to costs has relevance to us here in Chennai, India. The “Mini Bus” idea of the erstwhile DMK Government now being pursued by the AIADMK Government has the inherent issue of cost of operation, because there would be fewer seats to a bus, while labour costs would be the same as for the bigger MTC operations.

Tata Magic vans in Chennai. Click on Image to read article in The Hindu

This automatically indicates that the tariff for the Mini Bus would have to be higher than other services to compensate, although that would not be opposed by commuters who hardly have an alternative now, barring costly autorickshaws.

Moreover, the operational dynamics of the “Tata Magic” 7-seater vans indicates that such services would be viable only in the informal sector, with loose regulation (they are not ticketed, and are increasingly adopting non-standard operational routes for instance).

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