Transport: Starting yesterday, fares for passenger bus has increased by six percent for both local and long distance, while fares for taxi service fares has gone up by Nu 1 for long distance and Nu 3 for local on the existing rates.

The Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) revised the fares, which come into effect immediately.

The existing taxi fare for both local and long distance is Nu15 a km. With the revision, the new rate for long distance is Nu16 a km while the new rate is Nu18 a km for local.

Likewise, the existing coaster bus fare from Thimphu to Phuentsholing is Nu 227 a passenger. With the six percent increase, the new fare is Nu 238.

RSTA’s chief transport officer and spokesperson, Karma Pemba said that the fares are slightly increased. When revising the fares, he said, RSTA considers affordability among other factors because most users of public transport are from low-income group.

Fare revision exercises for public transports are carried out twice a year, in January and July. However, the revision will be considered based on a rise or fall of more than five percent in overall operating costs.

Karma Pemba said that most of the time, the operating cost increases. The operating cost includes fuel price, cost of vehicles, drivers’ salary and maintenance cost, among others.

A public notification from the authority states that although there was a slight increase in other operating costs, the fall in fuel prices kept the fares at the same rate for the past 18 months for bus and for over three years for taxi services.

“The current revision is based purely on slight increase in fuel price from January until June 2015,” the notification stated.

Karma Pemba said that there were two incidences where the fuel price dropped this year, one in the first week of this month and the other recently. “These two drops will be considered in the next revision, which will happen in January,” he said.

The fares for bus was last revised in 2013 while fares for taxi was last revised in 2011. The revised bus and taxi fare charts are also available on the RSTA website.

By Dechen Tshomo