Thiruvananthapuram: Bus owners in Kerala are up in arms, protesting against the recent increase in the concession age for students using private buses. The Bus Operators Organisation has stated that this decision is completely unacceptable, citing a lack of consultation with stakeholders and potential financial burdens imposed on bus owners.
The contentious issue revolves around the government’s unilateral decision to raise the age for student concessions, a move that has not been well received by bus owners. According to the organisation, no prior discussions were held with them, leading to a sense of frustration and concern.
The primary demand put forth by the bus owners is the reduction of the concession age for students to 18 years, accompanied by an increase in student fares. Additionally, they call for the implementation of the Ramachandran Commission report, which presumably addresses several issues related to the transportation sector.
One of the most controversial aspects of the government’s recent directives is the mandatory installation of seat belts in buses. Bus owners argue that this requirement is not practical, as it would impose significant additional costs on their operations. Estimates suggest that outfitting a bus with seat belts could cost around Rs. 30,000 per vehicle, potentially leading to a financial crisis for many bus owners.
Bus operators express concerns about the potential domino effect of such regulations. They fear that if seat belts are made mandatory for seated passengers, the government may eventually extend this requirement to standing passengers as well. This adds to their apprehension about the feasibility of implementing costly systems such as GPS and speed governors.