BENGALURU: Many commuters become helpless when conductors refuse to give them their change after issuing tickets. According to data provided by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), almost 198 cases have been registered by passengers this year for not getting the right change. Last year, 662 cases were registered.
According to Anupam Agrawal, director - Security and Vigilance, BMTC, one of the reasons for this is the number of passengers travelling by buses during peak hours. “At that time, conductors are in a hurry or even mischievously avoid paying back the rest of the money. All complaints registered have been solved but as a permanent solution, we are going to make the fares a round figure. For example, if a ticket costs `26, we will decrease the fare to `25 or if it is `29, we will increase to `30,” he explained.
However, passengers claim the issue occurs in less crowded buses too. Evanglin Pushparaj, a daily passenger who travels from Domlur flyover stop to Koramanagala Canara Bank stop, said, “The ticket for this route is `15, but many times, the conductor does not return the change, even during non-peak hours. After issuing a ticket, they go to the back of the bus and never come back.”
Pushparaj, who works at Norwin Technology, Koramangala, shared another instance when a conductor denied her a ticket due to a shortage of `1. “I once got into a bus from Murugeshpallya to Domlur. I had only `9 in my wallet. Since I was short of `1, the conductor asked me to get down from the bus. If they can’t let us travel due to a shortage of fare money, why can’t we also demand they return our change?” she questioned.
Not all passengers find it necessary to fight for their change. Some, like Chitra Ravi, a Hongasandra resident, say that the problem has become so commonplace that it is best ignored.“BMTC is our main means of transportation. If the change is less than `5, I ignore the issue since waiting among a crowd and time lost in doing so is not worth it,” she said.
According to Dr Ashish Verma, associate professor, transportation systems engineering, Dept of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, a mobility card might be an effective solution to the problem. “A mobility card will reduce back-end handling of the cash and manpower. Every day, conductors collect cash from passengers, take this to BMTC Depots, where somebody counts it. Rechargeable mobility cards make it a hassle-free experience for passengers and bus crew members,” he explained.While BMTC’s closed-loop smart card addresses some of these issues, passengers are still waiting for the launch of a common mobility card.