Bengaluru

Team #BusBhagyaBeku rides to BMTC office, drives home demands

BMTC bus users gathered at the Shantinagar Bus Station on Saturday as part of the #BusBhagyaBeku yatra in Bengaluru on Saturday.  

Hundreds of people gathered at Shantinagar Bus Station on Saturday morning in support of the #BusBhagyaBeku campaign by Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB) and Bengaluru Bus Prayanakara Vedike, which aims to convey to the State government the need for a more robust fleet of buses with lower fares.

The elaborately planned ‘yatra’, modelled on the lines of the previous #ChukuBukuBeku yatra, saw the commuters reaching the headquarters of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) from all areas of the city by bus. Several area-based civic activist groups such as Whitefield Rising, K.R. Puram Rising, Citizens’ Action Forum, and Bangalore Residents’ Association Confederation Ensemble participated.

As early as 9.30 a.m., volunteers and commuters reached major bus stations including Koramangala, Jayanagar, Shivajinagar, Kempegowda Bus Station and Banashankari, and boarded buses towards Shantinagar. There, they formed a group, gathered opposite the bus station and started shouting slogans seeking more buses.

“Buses in the city are always crowded. We want the BMTC to have at least 12,000 buses on the road and for this, the support of the government is necessary,” said Sumukhi, one of the participants. At present, the BMTC’s fleet is around around 6,000.

Besides increasing the number of buses, the campaigners also want BMTC fares, which are among the highest across all public transport undertakings in the country, to be reduced by half.

BMTC officials, who met the campaigners, said they have decided to reduce the fares for the (kilometre-based) second stage of travel from ₹12 to ₹10. However, the activists said this was not sufficient.

“Lowering the fares from ₹12 to ₹10 is not going to help individuals who cannot afford to take a bus in the first place. Last year also, they changed the minimum fare from ₹ 6 to ₹5. What difference does ₹1 or ₹2 make? BMTC fares are still unaffordable to a significant section of the population. They should halve the fares if they want an increase in ridership,” said Lekha Adavi of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike.

This year, the BMTC has requested the government for financial assistance to procure 3,000 buses. If this is approved, the fleet size will improve considerably, as 3040 more buses are scheduled to be added this financial year.

“We have asked the State government for direct financial assistance. Last year, we were given an interest subvention on procurement of 1,000 buses,” said BMTC managing director Ekroop Caur. On the topic of fares however, Ms. Caur remained non-committal, only saying that BMTC would not consider hiking fares further this year.

Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 9:06:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/team-busbhagyabeku-rides-to-bmtc-office-drives-home-demands/article17409602.ece

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