This Lok Sabha polls, voters who are travelling from Bengaluru to their native towns and villages in buses, to vote, will have to bear rising transport fares. The bus fares from Bengaluru to other parts of Karnataka and other state have almost doubled.
The first phase of elections in Karnataka is on April 18 but the polling date is wedged between holidays, with April 17 being Mahaveer Jayanti and April 19 is Good Friday, all resulting in a long weekend.
According to various booking portals, the fare of a seat from Bengaluru to cities such as Hyderabad and Mangaluru is around Rs 2,000. Usually, in normal days the fare is between Rs 800 and 1000.
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While bus rates to other cities have almost doubled, fares of private buses plying from Bengaluru to towna like Udupi, Madikeri, Chikkamagaluru, Shivamogga, and North Karnataka districts have shot up by at least 30 to 50 per cent.
In March 2019, the Karnataka transport department had directed its officials to book cases against owners of such bus operators and also cancel their licenses.
“We are receiving complaints that during festival seasons and long weekends, the price of the bus tickets is often increased by the private bus operators. Passengers can give complaints regarding such issues to the transport department via phone or email. We will levy a penalty against the bus operators,” said an official from the Transport department.
Long weekend may affect voter turnout:
Bengaluru is infamous for its poor voter turnout during elections, despite the election commission conducting various awareness campaigns to bring the voters to the polling booth. In the 2018 assembly election, only 54.76% of people from the city voted.
N Manjunath Prasad, district election officer (DEO) said, “Since the whole country is going to an election in seven phases and dates has been fixed according to this. To improve the voter turnout, we will be conducting various awareness programmes and campaigns.”
“We have planned radio talks, shows, and street plays to create awareness including a demonstration of voting to the public,” he added.
72,64,796 registered voters in Bengaluru
Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N Manjunath Prasad said that there 72,64,796 voters in Bengaluru city. The commissioner, who is also the district election officer (DEO), said that out of the total voters in the city, 37,78,873 are males, and 34,84,702 are female voters.