The fuel price increased for the 20th day in a row with diesel prices in the city touching Rs 77.44 a litre, an increase of Rs 9.22 per litre. The retail price of petrol reached Rs 83.37 recording a hike of Rs 7.83 a litre since June 7.
A senior official in the state transport corporation said that the fuel cost of operation of a bus before the hike would be anywhere between Rs 13 to 14 per kilometre. “With cost of diesel going up by Rs 9, the operation cost in terms of fuel would increase by Rs 2 to Rs 15 to 16 per km,” the official said, adding that the diesel price hike would have a cascading effect resulting in the price rise of lubricants and tyres.
“The prices of the spare parts will go up with increase in the freight charges,” the official noted.
Overall, the diesel price hike would result in about 20 per cent increase in the cost of operation of buses, a senior official said, adding that the corporation would suffer huge losses with increase in the cost of operation while carrying very limited passengers.
As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the state transport corporations except Metropolitan Transport Corporation and State Express Transport Corporation were allowed to operate buses with a passenger cap of 60 per cent of the seated capacity.
The seven State Transport Corporations, including Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Villupuram, Salem, Coimbatore, Kumbakonam and Madurai have a fleet strength of about 21,500 buses and it operates about 19,500 buses in various routes across the state and to the neighbouring states.
The partial resumption of the bus services in the districts from June 1 witnessed good patronage. However, the state government has cancelled the inter-district bus services operated within the zones following the outbreak of COVID-19 cases.