BMRCL will now charge passengers a fee of Rs 30 for each unit of baggage other than a handbag.

Bengaluru Metro introduces arbitrary luggage fee commuters unhappyPTI/ file image
news Transport Friday, December 08, 2017 - 18:01

In a move that might discourage people from using public transport and increase the number of vehicles on Bengaluru roads, Namma Metro has introduced fees for luggage.

The Bangalore Metro Railway Corporation Limited (BMRCL) will now ask passengers to pay a fee of Rs 30 for each unit of baggage other than a handbag.

Metro users were greeted with printed notices (like the one below) which read “Luggage Limit – Rs 30/ baggage.” The notice does not give any specification about the size of the baggage for which commuters will be charged.

The printed notice also does not have the signature of any official. The notice also says that passengers will be fined Rs 200 plus the travel fare for travelling ticketless. Other than this, no formal communication has been made by the authorities.

It is not only the commuters who are unhappy with BMRCL’s decision; even experts feel that the move will deter commuters from using public transport.

27-year-old Rimo Bose who uses the metro on a daily basis say that rules should be made keeping in mind the benefits for passengers.

“This means if I am taking a bus or train from Majestic I can’t use the metro, but I have to pay more and go by cab. That will also take more time. What is the point of having a metro then?” she asks.

Another daily user Sitadri Dhara expressed disappointment with the lack of clarity in the notice.“It doesn’t serve any purpose as there is no explanation on luggage dimension. Commuters will be clueless as luggage can vary from a backpack to a duffel to trolleys. BMRCL should come out with more clarity on the luggage limit,” he told TNM.

“As riders often jostle with luggage, it is always good to put limit on it but on the other hand, we will have to choose between necessary and less necessary luggage,” he added.

BJP MP PC Mohan also demanded a roll-back on the decision.

The new rule

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shankar AS, executive director, Namma Metro, said that only bags bigger than a certain size will be subjected to fees.

“When the bag passes through the safety belt, staff will assess the volume and decide whether it calls for payment," he told DH.

He said that all stations will be informed about the rules and the staff will communicate the same to the users.

 A metro official told the newspaper that bags bigger than 60x45x25 cm will attract the fee. Previously, the rule was that baggage weighing more than 15 kg per person will attract a fee of Rs 10.

This comes after the BMRCL had introduced a rule banning helmets on the metro, which was later withdrawn after commuters protested.

Expert weighs in

On multiple occasions experts have stressed the necessity for the metro network to grow in other parts of the city saying it is one of the only solutions to curb the city’s traffic menace.The city has a total of 70 lakh registered vehicles, one of the highest in the country, and it was recently reported that this number has made the average vehicular speed drop to as low as 4 km per hour.

Vinay Sreenivas, a lawyer and a pro-public transport activist, also criticised the move. “It’s a very bad idea. This will harm street vendors, traders and out-of-town travellers,” he said.

Transport expert Sanjeev Dhyamannavar also said that the rule should be reversed.

“Irrespective of the amount of money, it will indirectly create a mental block in people’s mind. And why should there be a fee for no service? None of the metros in other cities charge any such fee. Airlines charge a fee because they give us the service of carrying our luggage,” he told TNM.

He also criticised the BMRCL for not being efficient in generating revenues from other sources such as advertisement and renting of unused spaces in stations.

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