On Thursday, when the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) was observing its monthly Bus Day to promote public transport, a number of passengers were observing a Black Day against the recent fare hike that has particularly hit commuters from the lower middle and lower socio-economic groups who are largely dependent on public transport.

The Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike, a group formed by various progressive groups and individuals, staged protests at the Kempe Gowda Bus Station and BMTC terminals at Shanthinagar and Hebbal.

The vedike pointed out that including the June 16 hike, bus fares had risen by more than 80 per cent over the past three years. In protest, its members tied black ribbons on people, urging them to pressure BMTC to revoke the hike.

The hike has increased the burden on the citizens from lower socioeconomic groups, already grappling with prices of essential commodities.

“I earn Rs. 5,000 a month. I’m now forced to spend Rs. 950 on the monthly bus pass. This has upset my budget,” said Manjula Mohan, a government employee.

Nargane Swamy from Bangalore Slum Janara Sanghatane, speaking on behalf of deprived sections, said: “With their limited resources, they have to walk to their destinations to save on the bus fare.”

Praja Rajakiya Vedike member Veena S. pointed out that a good chunk of commuters comprise domestic, construction and daily wage workers.

By increasing the fare, BMTC has shown that it has no regard for the problems of the common man, she said. The vedike has demanded the BMTC roll back the hike.

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