The BEST on Thursday will propose to discontinue the Happy Hours scheme, wherein commuters could enjoy concessional fares between 11am and 5pm, and curb the discounts given to students of private schools.
The BEST is also set to move a proposal at Thursday's committee meeting to hike bus fares by up to Rs 4 and scrap AC buses. Minimum monthly bus pass is proposed to cost Rs 575 against Rs 360 and minimum AC pass Rs 1,200 as against Rs 660. Students monthly pass is likely to go up from Rs 300 to Rs 600.
The curb on concessions to private schools students may come as a setback as children ply in red buses at fares that are nearly one-third of that charged by private operators. The free travel proposed for the civic students will, however, begin only from the next academic year, officials said. The Happy Hour plan was introduced to woo commuters but it received a lukewarm response, said officials.
The proposal to increase fares, scrap buses and curb concessions may create a ruckus at Thursday's meeting, a panel member said.“Several members are likely to oppose the proposals,“ he said. A section of BEST employees is also launching a campaign called “BEST Bachav“ from Thursday to protect the interests of workers.
A senior BMC officer said it was time the BEST dealt with the crisis “with an iron hand“. The BMC is keen on giving a revival package to the BEST, subject to the latter undertaking “major cost-cutting measures“. The civic budget had suggested that the BEST should go for compulsory or voluntary retirement of staff as well. Thursday's proposal will also speak of “freeze on recruitment even as 1,587 staffers retire this year“.