BENGALURU: In a move that could benefit poor people travelling in BMTC buses, the state government is likely to announce ‘Bus Bhagya Scheme’ in the upcoming budget.
Under the scheme, commuters can travel in special BMTC buses with a 50 per cent reduction in fare. BMTC officials said they will operate 100 ‘Bus Bhagya’ special buses in routes like Banashankari, Nagavara, Peenya, where economically weaker sections live and take buses.
“We have sent a proposal to the government after the BMTC Board approved the scheme. We need government subsidy to operate such buses. General public will also be allowed to travel in these special buses which will be launched after the budget,” a senior BMTC official said.
The scheme, similar to the previous BJP government’s Atal Sarige buses, is expected to benefit construction labourers, garment workers and others in the unorganised sector.
BMTC officials said Atal Sarige buses, introduced in 2009, had received an overwhelming response. However, the present Congress-led government didn’t expand the number of buses, named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, over the years. At present, there are only 20 Atal Sarige buses covering 11 routes in the city despite a growing a demand from passengers.
BMTC has the highest bus fare in the country. Commuters have been asking BMTC to reduce fares. Many people are also dependent on illegal private buses because of BMTC’s high fare.
However, BMTC officials said they are not getting any financial assistance or exemption from taxes from the state government.
“We are also aware that fares are high. In Tamil Nadu, the state government is providing salaries to its state transport corporation employees. But unfortunately there is no financial support from the Karnataka government,” an official said.