Staff Reporter

Buying a daily pass of Rs. 25 and buying tickets will cost the same, says a commuter

What they sayWith my meagre salary, it is difficult to make a living in BangaloreWith the rise in bus fare we have to spend more now

BANGALORE: The fare revision by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) following the rise in diesel price has come as a shock to commuters, especially those from the middle and economically weaker classes.

Bangalore has ceased to be a place for people from lower income groups, said Suresh, a security guard. "With my meagre salary of Rs. 3,000 a month, it is difficult to make a living here," he said pointing at the skyrocketing prices of all essential commodities.

Hailing from a rural area, Mr. Suresh said he was not here lured by the city life. "I don't get any income from the small piece of land in my village and am forced to come here to eke out a living." Instead of helping people to make a living, he said, government agencies are harassing them.

Rekha and her husband, Venkatesh, who work in Bowring Hospital, spend at least Rs. 40 a day on BMTC to commute between Shivajinagar and Kammanahalli. "With the rise in bus fare, we have to spend more," they rued. For Velu, who sells pickles in various parts of the city by commuting from his house in Bhoopasandra, the rise in fare was "disgusting". Buying a daily pass of Rs. 25 and buying tickets would cost the same, he said.

However, for Prasad Koyyan, a network engineer living in Jayanagar IX Block and having an office on St. Mark's Road, the rise in fare was just. BMTC had to increase the fare due to the rise in fuel prices, he noted.

On the whole, BMTC fares are the highest among urban transport undertakings in the country.

Commuters felt that the corporation, which had reportedly earned a profit of over Rs. 100 crore during 2005-06, could have absorbed the effect of the rise in fuel price.

They said there appeared to be no difference between private operators who were generally only after profits and the BMTC. Other urban transport undertakings, such as the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport Company (BEST) and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) had not resorted to fare revision in the wake of the increase in diesel price, the pointed out.

The transport corporation, which has made several milestone achievements in fuel efficiency (4.74 km per litre), bus utilisation per day (219.1 km) and effective kilometre per staff per day (45.87), has more earnings (Rs. 4,436) per bus per day than the cost per bus per day (Rs. 3,816).

The decision to increase fare, commuters said, went against the BMTC appeal that more number of people should use the public transport system to decongest the city roads. Unless the services offered by BMTC were affordable, convenient and punctual, one could not expect people utilising the services, they felt.

They also criticised the BMTC's the claim of transparency stating that while websites of many urban transport undertakings contained details of fare per km, it was absent on the BMTC website.