State plans to regularise maxi-cabs , widen tax net
The state government is likely to regularise inter-city passenger transport by jeeps, also called maxi-cabs , in a bid to strengthen the public transport system.
Jun 09, 2008, 05.37 AM IST
PUNE: The state government is likely to regularise inter-city passenger transport by jeeps, also called maxi-cabs , in a bid to strengthen the public transport system. ���By bringing maxi-cabs within the tax fold, the state government plans to use the revenue to help strengthen the bus network run by the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC),��� state transport secretary Ramanath Jha said.
���Strengthening public transport is our priority and we are working on the policy of ���maximum mobility with minimum vehicles��� , he added. There are over 1 lakh maxi-cabs in the state. People use them for short distances and quick travel, where buses are not available or it is not profitable to run buses. The issue is believed to be under consideration of the Cabinet.
The state government is also in talks with the MSRTC to reassure its members that such a move would not adversely affect them, Mr Jha told ET on the sidelines of the annual convention of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Sunday.
Despite this move, buses and public transport remain a high priority area for the government, with the transport department also planning to bring private buses within the ambit of the recent passenger tax cut on the state-owned AC buses. ���Poor returns on investment due to high taxation was one of the reasons public transport could not flourish. Since the government has cut the tax from 17.5% to 5.5% on state-owned AC buses, we want to extend this to bus service as a whole.���
The transport department was also looking at discouraging municipal corporations from running public transport undertakings. ���The overall experience is that public transport undertakings run by municipal bodies are not profitable ventures. It becomes a drag on the municipal revenue and no municipal corporation is prepared to fund it the way it is done in foreign countries.
All over the world, public transport gets subsidised where the local bodies pay the cost overrun to the bus operators , after they meet certain benchmarks. Our local bodies are not rich enough to pay this cost overrun. So it better to opt for the PPP model, which has been piloted in cities like Aurangabad, Nagpur and Akola. I have written to the urban development department to disallow new municipal bus undertakings ,��� Mr Jha stated.
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