Toll Issue: Private bus service on Udupi route to be suspended from March 15 | Mangaluru News – Times of India

MANGALURU: Private bus owners, who are operating bus services via the national highway toll gate at Hejmady, have decided to suspend services from March 15 opposing toll collection.
Bus owners in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts have been complaining against the ‘hefty’ toll for all buses, including those plying on village roads. Soon after making FASTag mandatory, the toll authorities at Hejmady have stopped the concession given for such buses.
Canara Bus Operators’ Association vice-president Durgaprasad Hegde told TOI that bus service will remain suspended till the toll authorities restore concession.
“All shuttle service buses, including those on Mangaluru -Udupi route, that cross the Hejmady toll gate will remain suspended. We are given a concession rate of Rs 6,500 per month for each bus at the Surathkal toll gate. We are paying only about 40% of the actual toll charge at Surathkal. The toll gate authorities at Talapady had also given concessions for city buses. However, we have to pay Rs 95 for each entry at Hejmady toll gate. It is not possible for us to sustain by paying such a hefty amount at one toll gate,” Hegde rued.
Bus owners have had several rounds of discussions with the Udupi district administration, National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the contractors. “The district administration had promised to solve the issue soon. However, no decision has been taken yet. Hence, we will not operate until the toll authorities at Hejmadi agree to provide concession. Continuing the service will incur huge loss to bus owners if the toll charge is not reduced for private buses. We are ready to follow rules, but they should consider bus operations as a service. Moreover because of the pandemic, buses are almost empty during non-peak hours. Further, hike in the price of diesel and maintenance cost are burning hole in our pocket,” he added.

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Sagar Biswas

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