A bus ride in Bengaluru is costlier than a bus ride in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Chennai or Pune. This is the result of a new study done by Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike (BBPV), which initiated a campaign urging residents of the city to call their respective MLAs and urge them to ask Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy to not hike bus fares.
The BBPV, an organisation formed in Bengaluru in 2013 to connect bus commuters, is demanding that bus fares should not be hiked and that the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) should be supported financially, like the Bengaluru Metro, so that it can provide better bus services. BBPV also highlighted its comparative study, which showed that Bengaluru's bus fares were among the highest in the country.
As per information compiled from the respective government reports and newspaper reports, the cost of travelling up to 5 km was found to be Rs 15. The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) charges Rs 14 up to 5 km, while the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal (PMPML), Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Chandigarh Transport Corporation (CTC) charge Rs 10 up to five km. The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) in Chennai was found to be the cheapest among the cities surveyed.
The data, which was compiled by the BBPV, also shows that the cost of travelling in a bus in Bengaluru is highest in all the categories measured - up to 3 km, 5 km and 10 km. The cost of travelling in a bus in Bengaluru for 10 km is Rs 19, much more than in any of the other cities.
The BBPV also added that bus fares in the city should be reduced, and urged CM Kumaraswamy to meet bus commuters and take suggestions on how the BMTC should be strengthened. "BMTC bus fares should in fact be reduced so that more people will use the service and also because then the poor will find commuting more affordable," says Vinay Sreenivasa, an activist based in Bengaluru.
The BBVP had earlier launched the Bus Bhagya campaign demanding the state government support BMTC and allot at least Rs 1,000 crores to BMTC in the Budget to help the organisation provide affordable bus fares, build shelters in all bus stops and buy additional buses.
In 2017, BMTC's records showed that over 20% buses in the city were over 10 years old. In the same year, the Vedike organised a campaign asking BMTC to halve the fare and double the fleet.
The activists have also been pushing for an umbrella organisation to integrate all modes of transport used by citizens. A draft bill of the Integrated Road Transport Authority was readied in 2018 and is currently being considered by Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara.
The BBPV's latest campaign comes amid news that CM Kimaraswamy is considering hiking bus fares in the city after scheduling a review meeting with Transport Minister DC Thammanna. The CM Office has confirmed to TNM that bus fare hike is not on the cards.