Public transport, especially taking the bus to commute within Bengaluru is “too heavy on the pockets” for passengers, a survey conducted in the Karnataka capital indicated.
According to a survey on mobility among the working-class conducted by Bengaluru Bus Prayaanikara Vedike (BBPV), a community forum for bus commuters in the city, 80 percent those riding in a bus said that they find bus fares too high. Interestingly, 41% of non-bus users have responded saying they will shift to buses if fares were reduced.
The survey results also indicated that bus commuters spend more than commuters who use other modes of transport, unlike most cities in India. “Bus commuters spend 21% of their earnings on commute. Users of other vehicular modes spend 9.5% of their earnings on commute,” the report indicated.
The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) charges Rs 19 for a ticket to travel up to 10 kilometres. This is the highest price in the country, in comparison, to fares of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST – Mumbai) and Delhi Transport Corporation, which is Rs 18 and Rs 10 respectively.
Revision in bus fares in the city has been a long-standing demand put forth by citizens, for years now. “The bus fares must be revised during this budget. Addressing the long overdue demand, ticket prices should be reduced by 50%,” Srinivas Alavilli, co-founder, Citizens for Bengaluru said.
“Chief Minister Yediyurappa had already promised such a revision to bus fares when he took over. This single move will make a big difference in traffic and pollution problems in the city. Once combined with bus priority lanes, the impact will be huge,” Srinivas added.
Some of the key issues that affect bus commute include lack of convenient routes (17.3%), frequency of services (16%) and traffic (6.7%), as per the respondents.
Stating the survey reports, the BBPV has urged the state government to grant money to BMTC to enable them to purchase at least 3000 more buses this year to double the existing fleet in two years. “The government should also set-up a fare stabilization fund to help BMTC reduce the fares significantly and reduce the gap in operational expenses,” the report stated.
Among other demands is the extension of bus lanes to other high-density corridors, and ensuring routing and frequency in accordance with a demand-mapping obtained from commuter-discussions.
Shaheen Shasa, a regular bus commuter said, “The government needs to provide funding to enable BMTC to reduce the fares substantially, introduce more buses and ensure coordination across all stakeholders to extend bus priority lanes to the whole city.”
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