The 15 per cent fare hike announced by the BMTC on Thursday has attracted the ire of local commuters.
According to the Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike, a group of active commuters opposing the hike, bus fares have gone up by as much as 50 per cent over the last one-and-a-half years.
In 2013, fares were hiked twice for all services and once more for Volvo services. The forum has accused the BMTC, a public sector company, of being obsessed with profits and ignoring the public good.
“If a garment worker or a pourakarmika, who earns `5,000 a month spends `725 on a monthly pass, she/he shells out 15-20 per cent of income just on commuting. People are now cutting down on healthcare and education expenses to be able to travel to work,” read a statement issued by the forum.
The group is demanding that the government support the BMTC just as it supports the Metro and other projects and have urged the transport corporation to reduce fares by 50 paise per kilometre.
A signature campaign to persuade the government to reduce the fares has already begun. The campaign is demanding fares of up to `5 for 10 km and `25 for a day pass and `250 for a monthly pass. This is possible only if the government supports the BMTC by paying salaries, reimbursing taxes and funding new buses, campaigners said.
BMTC fare hike draws flak
“A major part of my pocket money is
spent on travelling
and a sudden hike in the bus fares has dug deeper into my
— Dhanagopalan, Student of UVCE
“The IT employees are making a lot of money whereas a retired person like me has no pension and can only afford a Cadbury chocolate”.
— Ravi, retired factory executive
“This is the second time the bus fare has increased this year. Travelling by autorickshaw was already so expensive but the hike in the bus fare will shrink my savings”.
— Devi, a housewife
“Hike in bus fare does not affect me much as the hike will make people commute less and buses will be less crowded during peak hours”.
— Krithika, a software engineer
“For the past seven years, I have been travelling by bus everyday. I used to pay Rs 325 for my black board pass. Now I have to pay Rs 725 plus Rs 100 which might increase. I am waiting for the Metro which will save me time and money.”
— Mahalakshmi, a housewife said
“I earn Rs 5,000 a month, but now
I have to pay around `1,000 on my monthly bus pass. This has hampered my budget”.
— Babu, a government employee