Buses in rallies earn revenue and friends
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The buses that ferried CPM supporters from several areas of North 24-Parganas to the rally on Monday at Rani Rashmoni Square in central Kolkata were more than happy to do so, both for their political affinity and because the earnings were more than that of a normal day's revenue.
Sources in the CPM said around 100 buses came in from places like Barackpore, Bonga, Bashirhat, Jagaddal, Madhyamgram and Barasat and had charged between Rs 4,000 and 5,000 each depending on the distance covered.
Some said that engaging the buses for a pre-fixed amount and time for these rallies can prove to be a much more profitable option than plying on the normal route. "It is an open secret that private buses that are plying on normal routes are doing so at a loss or very little profit, given the rising diesel price vis-a-vis the stagnant fare structure. While carrying people to and from these rallies, we at least make some profit," said an owner of a bus in Bashirhat. He said that it also helped in maintaining a cordial relationship with the political parties. "Irrespective of which party has called a rally, if I am approached for my bus, I charge a fair amount. I have lent my bus for rallies put up both by the ruling party as well as the Opposition. That way, I ensure a harmonious relationship with them which helps in conducting business smoothly," he said.