In an unexpected move, the Karnataka state road transport authorities have hiked the fees for student bus passes this year. The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has added a processing fee of Rs 200 to the bus passes.
Accordingly, the bus pass fare will increase by Rs 200 and will vary for student-passengers in high school, pre-university, engineering, medical and evening colleges. With this, the bus passes for primary school students, which was free until now, will cost Rs 200. For renewing smart card bus passes, the BMTC has added a processing fee of Rs 170 for all student passes.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) is also slated to announce an increase in fare of student bus passes soon, Transport Department officials say.
The BMTC has started issuing new smart card bus passes for students this year. The BMTC is expected to issue 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh smart cards this year, including renewal of the cards issued the previous year.
Online applications for student bus passes for the 2019-20 academic year are now available on the BMTC website. The applications for renewal of smart cards is currently open for high school and PU students only. Notifications for smart card renewal for students in degree and professional courses will be issued shortly, BMTC said in a press release.
While BMTC will give approval for students in Class 10 in state syllabus schools, the private schools and colleges will have to grant approvals for students in the respective institutions. Bus passes will be issued between 9 am to 5.30 pm at BMTC major bus stations and TTMC (bus depots).
B Basavaraju, Principal Secretary of the Transport Department, said that the fare hike was to drive revenue to state road transport corporations, which are reeling under losses.
“There has been no increase in fares since 2013 and the BMTC requires additional revenue. The revision is meant to reduce financial burden,” he said.
Students bus passes have been subject to concessions every year as the government bears 50% of the total cost, while the transport corporations bear 25% of the cost and students will have to pay the remaining 25%.