Explained: Bengaluru auto fare hike and how it will impact commuters

The Karnataka state transport department along with the Bengaluru Urban district administrations increased the auto-rickshaw fares in Bengaluru effective from today (December 1).

This comes after the Centre announced that auto-rickshaw services offered through online platforms will be subject to a 5 per cent GST starting from next year.

What will be the base fare now in Bengaluru?

According to the order, the base fare has been hiked to Rs 30 from the present Rs 25 for the first two kilometres, and Rs 15 will be charged for every subsequent kilometre.

Waiting time will be free for the first five minutes and Rs 5 will be chargeable for every 15 minutes thereafter, the transport department notification said.

According to the notification, passengers can carry up to 20 kg luggage for free and a charge of Rs 5 can be levied for additional luggage up to 20 kg. The amount of total additional luggage that can be carried by a passenger has been capped at 50 kg.

The stakeholders had been demanding a hike in auto fares since the past few years. District Commissioner of Bengaluru Urban, J Manjunath, who is also the chairman of the Road Transport Authority, had held a meeting with the stakeholders on the issue of fare hike and revised the fare last month.

Why now?

Auto drivers say they have been hit by fuel price rise and Covid-19 induced lockdown. Speaking to indianexpress.com, C N Srinivas, the general secretary of Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union in Bengaluru, said, “We are happy that the government has increased the fare. LPG prices have gone up in the last few years. A litre of auto LPG cost Rs 28 in 2013 and now it has risen to Rs 66. Hence, we had requested the state government and the transport department to raise the minimum fare.”

Besides high LPG prices, the unions said the pandemic has impacted their income. “Drivers have been adversely affected by the Covid-19-induced lockdown. Auto drivers and our families are fighting to make ends meet every day,” Srinivas added.

Ola Uber auto fare also to be increased

Fares for auto-rickshaw rides offered through online platforms will also be increased since the GST exemption for auto-rickshaws that provided to passenger transportation services on internet platforms was cancelled by the Revenue Department, which is part of the Finance Ministry.

In a statement, the department had said that the services provided through any online marketplace will be tax-deductible at a rate of 5 per cent beginning January 1, 2022.

While passenger transportation services provided by auto-rickshaw drivers in manual or offline mode will remain exempted, added the statement.

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