In a relief to commuters in Karnataka, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has directed the officials of the Transport Department to not increase bus fares.
In a meeting held with the transport department’s officials on Friday, Kumaraswamy allegedly told the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) officials that state-run corporations were not meant to make profit, but to serve the people.
In September this year, Transport Minister DC Thammanna had announced an 18% hike in BMTC and KSRTC fares. The Minister had stated that the state-run transport corporations were reeling under losses and needed to make up for it.
The proposal had received severe backlash from residents of Bengaluru and also from citizen activists, who took to protest against the same.
“The transport department has to look for alternative measures to make up for losses. Increasing bus fares is not the solution. The properties owned by BMTC and KSRTC can be rented out and profits can be made. In any case, when the situation is dire and the bus fares need to be increased, then public consultation must be done before increasing the fares,” HD Kumaraswamy said.
Transport Minister DC Thammanna had in September stated that all four state-run transport corporation – BMTC, KSRTC, North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) and North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC) were running under severe losses.
“The diesel and petrol prices have gone up. If the fuel prices increase, then the cost increases. Currently, the cost has shot up by 40%. How can we run four corporations under loss for consecutive years? That’s why we had proposed the fare hike,” DC Thammanna had said.
However, HD Kumaraswamy, on Friday told the officials that the budget for the current fiscal included an additional Rs 131 crore for the Transport Department and that the costs could be borne with those funds.
The Chief Minister also told the officials to streamline the bus routes, especially within Bengaluru city. He also told the BMTC officials to fix the last mile connectivity problem for Metro users.