Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi announced that there would be no hike in fares for Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses.
The BMTC, in February, approached the Karnataka government seeking an 18-20% hike in bus fares citing rising fuel prices, lack of funds to pay salaries, and losses due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“For the time being, we do not want to burden poor people who are already facing difficulties. The chief minister has taken a stand against the revision of fares,” Savadi said.
“Most of those who commute in our buses are from economically weaker sections, who are already in trouble. So we are not willing to trouble them further by increasing the ticket prices,” Savadi added.
He said that the government would review the fares after a few months when people start moving more freely if Covid cases come down.
The government had hiked the ticket prices of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and (NWKRTC) and North East Karnataka Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) about one-and-half years ago. The BMTC had not proposed any price hikes back then, the minister said.
Bus service to resume stage by stage after unlock
The Bus services across Karnataka have been stopped since April 27, Savadi said the bus services across Karnataka, stopped since April 27, would resume in a phased manner adhering to all safety precautions against Covid-19 once the lockdown is eased.
The minister said that only fully-vaccinated drivers and conductors will be on duty. “We will not pressurise them to work unless they have taken both doses of the vaccine. We started vaccinating our drivers and conductors a fortnight ago,” Savadi said.
Savadi said the transport corporations have suffered a loss to the tune of Rs 4,000 crore due to the pandemic and it may require at least 10 months to recover.
In 2020, bus services resumed in mid-May after the first Covid wave and it was only towards the end of the year people returned to using public transport in a big way.