Private bus owners to suspend services via Hejmady from Mar. 15

They are protesting against toll for vehicles plying through Hejmady village road

Private bus owners operating shuttle services in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts have warned of suspending services via Hejmady from Monday onwards protesting compulsory levy of toll for buses plying through Hejmady village road.

Kinnigoli Valaya Bus Malakara Sangha president and Canara Bus Owners’ Association vice-president Durgadas Hegde told The Hindu that toll plaza operator, M/s Navayuga Udupi Tollway Pvt. Ltd., has been insisting on toll fee payment by shuttle buses plying via the Hejmady village road too from February 17.

Erection of toll gate on the village road per-se was illegal; however villagers had agreed for the move as it prevented unauthorised movement of heavy vehicles inside the village to avoid the toll payment at the main toll plaza. The company had exempted shuttle buses from paying the toll since then (2019). Of the about 40 shuttle buses, 32 were now operating post COVID-19 lockdown and they make two to three round trips every day. The company was demanding ₹200 for every round trip, which the operators were resisting. They could not pass on the additional burden on passengers as they travel only short distances. Mr. Hegde said several representations to Navayuga and the district administrations of both the districts went unheard.

Unlike express buses plying on the Mangaluru-Udupi sector, shuttle buses do not ply on the entire length of the national highway and move through interior village roads. They operate between different destinations, including Mangaluru-Karkala via Padubidri, Kinnigoli-Padubidri, and other places via interior roads. Bus owners, who were already under loss, do not want to further incur losses and hence have decided to suspend the operations from March 15, Mr. Hegde added.

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