Contending that the hike in bus fare announced by the Kerala government was insufficient, private bus operators across the state began an indefinite strike on Friday, demanding further increase in fares.

According to bus association sources, nearly 14,500 private buses, which come under 12 different organisations, are taking part in the strike.

One of their main demands was to fix the minimum fare at Rs 10 and also a 50 per cent hike in concession for students, Kerala Private Bus Operators Association president MB Sathyan said.

The stir caused hardship to the public, especially in certain parts of the state which largely depend on private buses. State-run Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operated more bus services for the benefit of passengers.

According to the revised rates announced by the state government on February 14, the minimum fare for an ordinary bus will be Rs 8, up from Rs 7, and for fast passenger services, the fare will be Rs 11 instead of Rs 10.

Along with minimum fare, charges per km for all category of services have also been increased. The revised bus fare would come into affect from March 1.

(With PTI inputs)