The Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike (BBPV), a group that bats for the rights of people who travel on the bus, recently met with various MLAs and ministers, and have asked them to reduce BMTC (Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation) bus fares.
Rizwan Arshad and Akhanda Srinivas Murthy, both of whom are Congress MLAs, agreed to write to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa. Additionally, S Suresh Kumar, BJP MLA and Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Labour and Sakala, said he would write to Chief Minister Yediyurappa about reducing bus fares and increasing the bus fleet in the Bengaluru Budget.
This comes even as news that the elevated corridor project has been put back on the table.
BBVP has opposed the move strongly. In their letter to the various ministers, they said that instead of pushing for the Elevated Corridor at a cost of Rs 9300 crore, it would be far easier and more cost-effective to spend the same money on improving the public transportation in the city, and using the balance for better causes that urgently need the state governmentâ€™s budgetary attention.
They wrote, â€ś6000 buses at the cost of Rs 30 lakh each (Rs 1800 crore), Rs 2000 crore for the stabilisation of bus fares, and (the remaining) Rs 5500 crore for education, health, farmer income stabilisation, and flood relief.â€ť
Mr Gopalaiah (Minister and MLA, Mahalakshmi Layout) promised to look into the matter.â€” BusPrayanikaraVedike (@BBPVedike) February 21, 2020
On the first day, the news of elevated corridor being revived by a group of Bangalore MLAs was not yet out. Yesterday, we raised our concerns about elevated corridor too with many MLAs. (2/n) pic.twitter.com/ChXDejFMo7
The current BMTC bus fares start from Rs 12 going up to Rs 21, for normal buses. The Volvo bus fares are more expensive, starting at Rs 15 and going up to Rs 80.
Chief Minister Yediyurappa had previously promised to focus on public transportation instead of promoting private vehicles. He had promised to buy a new fleet of 6000 buses to nearly double the existing fleet of buses, and reduce the bus fares, back in November last year.
However, the BJP seems to have gone back on their promises, and have brought back the elevated corridor, which they had opposed fiercely when the JD(S)-Congress coalition had proposed the much-contested project.
Additionally, another minister Byrathi Basavaraj, had spoken about introducing a new 12 km flyover from the Indiranagar BDA complex to Medahalli, after KR Puram, at a cost of Rs 200 crore. However, transport experts have maintained that Bengaluru needs better public transport facilities and not additional flyovers or elevated corridors to solve the city's traffic woes.