In fact, high bus fares are setting the citizenry back their minimal wages, they say — rendering them unable to take advantage of urban public transport.
More importantly, those from economically backward sections of the city depend on these services to reach work, educational institutions or use the services in times of emergency.
In the backdrop of increasingly critical aforementioned issues,
At a recent discussion organised by the
Citizens pointed out that providing
For instance, Chandashri is a field healthcare worker. One of her responsibilities is to transport patients suffering from cancer and HIV. However, the office does not reimburse her for transport expenses incurred. Several others noted how buses, waiting to fill up with passengers, and irregular frequency of services, resulted in them reaching their destinations late and had to endure consequences of receiving half-salaries, losing jobs to even some students dropping out of schools.
“I earn a salary of Rs 7,000. As a person working with sexual minorities, I need to go to various locations. People belonging to transgender communities tend to travel by autorickshaws, fearing humiliation from society. Despite living off alms and charity, they are forced to spend their earnings on travel. Even HIV patients commuting to hospitals have to spend Rs 100-200 per trip. If they get bus passes, it will be convenient and further encourage them to use public transport,” said Karunkar, a social worker.
Varsha, a college student from Anekal, said there is not even a
Responding to citizens’ testimonies, Tara Krishnaswamy said: “Improper bus services are impacting education and dropout rates in Karnataka. This is not just an issue of BMTC efficiency.”
BMTC has to become more affordable, provide subsidies, scale up operations; surely, it can improve its financial situation…
– Prof Ashish Verma, IISc
Manu V Mathai, associate professor at
Convenor of IISc’s Sustainable Transportation Lab professor Ashish Verma said the problem partly lies in the lack of information about the services: “People tend to avoid going to unknown places in buses for the same reason; also penalised for taking shorter trips over longer trips.”
“BMTC is increasing fares hoping the revenue would increase, however, it’s decreasing the demand. To increase ridership, BMTC has to become more affordable and provide subsidies. There is huge scope for scaling up operations. If it works on these, it can surely improve the financial situation,” Verma told BM.
Responding to allegations of high fares, a BMTC official said: “We are charging as per the quality of service provided; since 2015, we haven’t increased fares. We provide passes for the press, differently abled and senior citizens, providing multiple free passes that are not provided in most states. The fares are being kept at a reduced cost.”
According to the official, BMTC needs a fare hike but the government has not been approving it since 2015.