Pics: Spoorthi Ullal
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (VP)
Mangaluru, Dec 6: The Dakshina Kannada Bus Owners’ Association (DKBOA) held a press conference at the Press Club here, focusing on crucial concerns harming the region's century-old bus network.
Azeez Pratipady, president of the DKBOA, attended the meeting, along with Rama Chandra, secretary, Dilraj Alva, former president, and Rajesh T, joint secretary.
Azeez Pratipady expressed concern, saying, "The century-old bus network faces extinction in the next 3-4 years. The high taxation load on municipal buses, with no tax breaks, has made bus owners uneasy. We are not opposed to growth, but interference with our bus schedules causes problems."
Pratipady emphasised the impact on families, saying, "Each bus affects around ten families, including drivers, conductors, and service personnel. We want to see provisions in the Shakti scheme that help both government and private buses.
"Unlike the KSRTC, which operates on a collection basis, we pay advance tax of Rs 50,000 for three months per bus, regardless of whether buses run or not. We want policies that benefit both public and private buses,” he stated.
In response to inquiries regarding rash driving and Chalo card issues, Rama Chandra stated, "Buses operate on tight schedules, which leads to reckless driving. Rationalising periods and quick government analyses will help."
He further clarified, "Buses displaying Chalo card stickers must accept card payments. Passengers are not required to pay even if conductors refuse to accept the card. We have set up a dedicated helpline at 7996999977 to handle any Chalo card concerns."
When asked about what the demands of DKBOA, Dilraj Alva stated, "We seek lower taxes and the elimination of unhealthy competition. The government gives aid, such as tax breaks for airports and harbours. But we have received no support after providing half-price student tickets for decades."
He also mentioned difficulties in locations like Mudipu and Suratkal, where KSRTC takes over impacting local bus services.
Concerns regarding footboards and loudspeakers were addressed by Pratipady, who said, "The new buses comply with regulations, and any variations in footboard height will be quickly corrected. Regarding loudspeakers and horns that annoy the public, we offer complete cooperation with the law and will take corrective measures."