Activists of the Bangalore Bus Prayaanikara Vedike staged a protest in the city on Saturday over the recent hike in the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bus fares.
As part of the protest, the vedike activists boarded a Vidhana Soudha-bound bus from Majestic and paid Rs. 5 each for the ticket as against the actual fare of Rs. 12. The vedike activists claimed that as their demand was that BMTC should fix fare of 50 paise per kilometre of travel, they were paying only Rs. 5 for each ticket though the actual fare was Rs. 12.
Vinay Srinivas, who represents the vedike, said the first batch of 30 activists boarded bus route no. 129 from Majestic and each of them paid Rs. 5 for their travel till Vidhana Soudha.
The second batch of activists boarded the bus route no. 198 from Majestic Bus Station and tried travelling till Vidhana Soudha by paying Rs. 5 per ticket but had to face the wrath of the BMTC authorities. Ashok, an activist, said: “The conductor refused to issue us Rs. 5 tickets. He then asked the driver to take the bus back to the depot and thus that particular trip was cancelled.”
Geeta, an activist, alleged that Upparpet Police Inspector R. Prakash, who rushed to the spot, misbehaved with women protesters using derogatory language.
The activists said that while the government has fixed the monthly minimum wages for a garment worker at Rs. 5,400 and the government was paying Rs 4,000 a month to its contract workers, it was unfair to fix the fare of the monthly BMTC bus pass at Rs. 1,045.
The vedike questioned the claim by BMTC authorities on the losses incurred.
The vedike urged the State government to subsidise BMTC operations and treat it as an essential service to help the poor access the service.