With the implementation of Shakti Yojana providing free travel to women passengers in KSRTC buses in Karnataka, private bus owners are surrendering their vehicles due to profitability issues.
In Shivamogga division, a total of 188 stage carriage vehicles have been surrendered, covering regional offices in various cities. The Shivamogga Regional Office alone has surrendered 47 buses in the current financial year, taking the total number of vehicles surrendered since 2016-17 to 128, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
As soon as the Shakti Yojana started, the private bus owners had expressed concern about running in losses. He cited lack of passengers on his routes, where collections were falling from an estimated ₹15,000 per day to only around ₹8,000.
President of Private Bus Owners Association in Shivamogga, R. Rangappa said the state government launched the Shakti scheme without consulting private bus owners about its possible impact. He suggested that if the scheme was limited to routes where KSRTC has a monopoly, it would not have had such a negative impact. The association has called for extending the benefits of the scheme to passengers using private buses as well.
On the other hand, the transport department is losing revenue due to surrender of their vehicles by private bus operators. This is because they are no longer required to pay road tax, which ranges from ₹40,000 to ₹50,000, for three months depending on the number of seats.
Since its launch on June 11, 188 vehicles have been surrendered in Shivamogga division due to the Shakti scheme, resulting in a revenue loss of Rs 90.03 lakh. Shivamogga RTO alone suffered a loss of ₹25.18 lakh.
The state government has set a revenue target of ₹157.33 crore for the Shivamogga RTO for the financial year 2023-24. While the RTO collected ₹12.73 crore in August 2023 against the monthly target of ₹13.14 crore, efforts are on to make up for the loss in revenue due to vehicle surrender. Shivamogga RTO B. According to Shankarappa, these efforts include recovering dues from defaulters and increasing revenue from vehicle registration.