Hundreds of citizens in Bengaluru took the bus on Saturday as a show of support to the #BusBhagyaBeku initiative that is seeking affordable public transport for everyone in the city.
In response to a call by Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) and Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike (BBPV), the two groups behind the initiative, Bengalureans thronged to several bus stations including Majestic, Koramangala, Jayanagar, Shivaji nagar and Banashankari.
As slogans of "Bus Bhagya Beku! Ticket Ardha maadi! Bus double maadi!" filled the air, it reiterated the two demands made by the initiative: half the fares and double the fleet.
The protesters gathered at Shantinagar and addressed their concerns to the BMTC Chairman and MD.
"Today is the day we make the bus take the center stage that it rightly deserves. After the steel flyover cancellation, the government must focus on public transport and divert the funds to BMTC to double the fleet and halve the fares. Bus bhagya is the most important gift that the Honâ€™ble CM can give to Bengaluru in this budget. The massive public support is an indication that people want more buses and affordable service. More of us need to switch to buses if we want to save our trees," Srinivas Alavilli of CfB said.
Tara Krishnaswamy of CfB said that if the government invests in the #BusBhagyaBeku initiative, it will address the problem of traffic in the city. It will also "allow the city to move one step closer to being more sustainable, livable and affordable."
The initiative however will continue till their demands are met. "We will intensify our demand in the coming days so that the right decision is taken. We are spending thousands of crores on the Metro and it is only fair that an equal amount of investment goes to BMTC, which gets nothing from Karnataka government (at present)," Vinay Sreenivas of BBPV said.
BMTC MD Ekroop Caur said that they have asked the government for support to increase the bus fleet. While the government does offer some subsidies at present, Caur added, BMTC can further reduce fares only if they are given more financial help.
The citizens also submitted a copy of their petition to the officials.
Read our earlier story about the initiative: Bengaluru has the most expensive public transport in India, and people arenâ€™t happy