The present study tries to see whether the subsidy given to CSTC, which is the oldest and the largest state transport corporation operating in and around Kolkata, is really being used to cover the losses they make over the years or to merely cover-up an inefficient performance. The state owned buses are required to serve, not only non-profitable routes in off-peak hours, but also to give social security or employment to a large section of society. The burden of carrying a huge staff structure and serving at an administered and less than competitive price for welfare reasons, makes CSTC liable to an operating loss. Therefore, it makes a case for subsidy. However, the regular commuters experience regarding the condition of and the services provided by these raises a question about the justification of subsidy. In the study it is seen that the subsidy given is not based on any of the components on which it should, economically. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.