GST: a Lower tax on A/C bus fare, 3% more on online bookings.

Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Owners Association president A Afzal told TOI, “GST will not affect bus fares in a big way. There are no service charge for non-air-conditioned (A/C) buses anyway. For A/C buses, service charge is lower by 1% under GST”.

Members affiliated to the association operate around 1,000 buses across the state, of which 700 are air-conditioned. Around 50,000 people travel on private buses every day. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations operate around 21,000 buses carrying nearly two crore passengers a day. SETC operates around 50 A/C buses, while MTC and TNSTC also have A/C buses on some routes.

Vasu Ramasamy, COO and co-founder of TicketGoose, an online bus ticketing company said, “From whatever rates have been published so far, service tax will increase from 15% to 18% [on the aggregator’s commission] when you book A/C bus tickets online”.

He added that GST will bring transparency. “A section of the bus industry is unorganised, GST will bring every operator into the ambit,” he said.

Traffic and Transportation Forum director V Rama Rao said the GST will not affect passenger fares on non-AC buses. “On online bus bookings there will be higher tax, but regular A/C bus passengers may not mind the additional charge,” he said.