Over 1,000 passengers buy AC bus monthly passes after reduction in fare

A commuter buying BMTC’s monthly bus pass in Bengaluru on Thursday.

A commuter buying BMTC’s monthly bus pass in Bengaluru on Thursday.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Road Transport Corporation’s decision to reduce fares and monthly pass rates of its air-conditioned buses in an attempt to improve ridership has yielded some positive results. Before the surge in COVID-19 cases, over 1,000 people purchased monthly passes to travel AC buses in January.

The BMTC had stopped operating most of its AC buses once the pandemic struck as there were no takers. Even when the services resumed, there was no demand for AC bus passes.

In January 2022, the BMTC started issuing monthly passes for ₹1,500 instead of ₹2,000. “After this, we sold 1,197 passes. Even though there is a surge in COVID-19 cases, we have not reduced services, and are running buses as per schedule. Currently, we are operating 311 AC bus schedules, which include 78 Vayu Vajra services to the Kempegowda International Airport,” said a BMTC official.

In December 2021, when COVID-19 cases appeared to be on the decline, the BMTC reduced ticket prices for Vajra services by 34%, and the cost of day passes from ₹120 to ₹100. According to officials, within a week of the new prices, occupancy increased by 25%. “Revenue too marginally increased,” said the BMTC official.

The corporation hopes that more people will switch to using AC buses. “Travelling by AC bus is cheaper than taking an auto or a taxi,” the official added.

During pre-COVID times, a majority of AC bus commuters were working professionals, including those in the IT sector, most of whom are now working from home. BMTC officials are worried that if COVID-19 cases in the city continue to rise, ridership will decline again. Already, overall daily ridership of city buses has dropped to 20 lakh from 23 to 24 lakh per day from the end of December.

Online booking

BMTC is also planning to re-introduce online booking of seats in Vayu Vajra services operated to Kempegowda International Airport. “We stopped online booking after the second wave due to reduced ridership. However, we are contemplating restarting booking for the benefit of air-passengers,” an official said.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 11:13:40 am |