SHIVAJINAGAR: Passengers complain that some BMTC conductors cite shortage of coins and routinely pocket small change.
A passenger says the fare is Rs 19 from Shivajinagar to Nagawara, and she never gets the change back when she gives the conductor Rs 20. And when she tries, the conductor stares her down, suggesting she is making a big deal of a trivial amount.
“Imagine how much he must be pocketing if he does it every day and to many passengers,” said Ancilla, a techie. Every rupee matters, and it is the BMTC’s responsibility to return change, she said.
Athik, a student of J T Institution, on Infantry Road, faces the problem every day when he commutes between Vidhan Soudha and Jayanagar. “But if we give them a rupee less, they won’t let us travel,” he said. Tired of asking for change, he now buys a daily pass.
Shashikala, a weaver who travels from Majestic to Kamakshipalya, is sympathetic to the conductors. “What can they do if everyone hands them Rs 100 or Rs 500 for a Rs 12 or Rs 14 ticket. Conductors can’t summon coins out of thin air,” she said.
Ekroop Caur, Managing Director, BMTC, said, “In case if we find any conductor keeping the change for himself, we will take strict action.”
Conductors begin their day by collecting some change from the depot. They are not allowed to keep personal money with them when they are on duty, according to Bhairappa, Assistant Traffic Inspector, BMTC. He said not all conductors pocket change. Ramdas, BMTC Traffic Inspector, said it was the passengers’ responsibility to enter the bus with exact change. “And it is also up to them to collect the change when they alight,” he said.
Men say they feel embarrassed to approach the conductor for small change through a thick crowd of women passengers, and often give up.
“The conductors jot down the change at the back of the tickets, but that doesn’t always help,” said Kumar, a regular commuter.
But despite the widespread unhappiness, few passengers take the trouble to complain.
“We don’t receive many calls about conductors not returning change,” Caur said. But some passengers say it is not easy to get through to the helpline or to anyone responsible in the organisation.