An indefinite statewide private bus strike that was to commence on Tuesday has been called off by the operators, following the meeting with Minister for Transport AK Saseendran.
Demanding an increase to bus fares, private bus operators had announced a statewide strike beginning this week. The bus operators wanted the minimum charge to be increased from Rs 8 to Rs 10.
In addition, they also demanded the implementation of a concession system for students, similar to what is being done for Kerala RTC buses, and that the concession charge for students should be increased by 60 percent. Currently, the minimum charge for students is Re 1.
After a meeting was held with the Transport Minister at Kozhikode on Monday, the operators called off the strike.
“The demands and concerns of the bus operators will be studied by a commission. The commission will check various aspects and whether the demands are logical and can be implemented,” Minister AK Saseendran told the media after the meeting.
Meanwhile, the bus operators said that they will call for a statewide strike again if a favourable decision is not taken by February 20. “If the government does not make a decision by February 20, then from the 21st, we will start the indefinite strike,” said Lawrence Babu, chairman of the joint committee of bus operator’s organisations.
According to bus operators, huge losses have been forcing some operators out of business. Officials of the Private Bus Owners Association note there were about 30,000 private buses in the state back in 2008-2010, while it has now been reduced to 12,000.