The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) Monday announced a flat fare system to help economically weaker sections. The announcement comes a week after BMTC began issuing daily or weekly passes to commuters instead of normal tickets in a bid to promote contactless ticketing.
BMTC has been facing flak right from the first day of operations post-lockdown for its new contactless ticketing system. Commuters and citizen activists had pointed out that the daily passes worth Rs 70 were not feasible for those travelling short distances.
Announcing the new ‘flat-fare’ system in response to this, BMTC in a statement said, “In view of the public demand the proposal was sent to the government for the introduction of flat fare system and the same was approved and preparedness is made for implementing with effect from May 26.”
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The minimum charge for a ticket to travel up to 2 kilometres is now set at Rs 5, while the same will be Rs 10 to travel up to 4 kilometres. Further, the new fare chart indicates Rs 15 will be charged to travel a distance of 5 to 6 kilometres, while the maximum fare (above 41 kilometres) will be Rs 30.
Here’s the complete flat-fare chart, as issued by BMTC (To be implemented from May 26, 2020)
*Up to 2 km – Rs 5
*3km to 4 km – Rs 10
*5km to 6 km – Rs 15
*7km to 14 km – Rs 20
*15km to 40 km – Rs 25
*Above 41 km – Rs 30
Welcoming the decision, Bengaluru Bus Prayaanikara Vedike (BBPV), a community forum for bus commuters in the city stated that the decision will provide immediate relief to large sections of commuters excluded or burdened by the high cost of daily commute due to the 70-rupees daily pass system.
“The new fare structure, being in multiples of 5, will reduce the cash exchanges between conductors and commuters as it is easier for more people to carry exact change for these denominations,” a statement issued by BBPV read.
Meanwhile, Shaheen Shasa, a regular BMTC commuter urged the government to step in to help BMTC serve the urban poor better. “Commuters have been demanding a reduction in fares since a long time and the demand is more relevant than ever before due to the ongoing financial crisis faced across communities due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. While free bus passes have been extended only to construction workers now, other vulnerable groups should also be included and it is the government’s responsibility to work for their welfare too,” she said.
Citizen activists also pointed out the fact that while public transport is made affordable for commuters, it should be made viable for the corporation as well to ensure operations are uninterrupted.
Meanwhile, in a bid to ensure minimal contact during the journey, the Corporation has asked passengers to pay in exact change. “Rounding of fares to multiples of Rs 5 will minimise cash handling as collection and return of small changes can be avoided. Passengers need to pay exact change for tickets,” a BMTC advisory read.
However, BBPV has urged BMTC not to deboard people from buses if they fail to provide the exact change.
Further, wearing masks has been made mandatory to enter any BMTC bus.
BMTC officials also said that QR code-bases digital ticketing will be implemented to all buses within a fortnight. “The same is now implemented in 750 buses and shall be extended to all buses within two weeks,” officials told. The Corporation has also announced that 3500 buses will be operated daily from May 26.