Intense public pressure, MLAs to oppose BMTC fare hike

Intense public pressure, MLAs to oppose BMTC fare hike

Volunteers of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike campaign against the proposed fare hike. DH FILE PHOTO

Bengalureans reached out to their MLAs a day before Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy is expected to decide on the Transport Department’s proposal to hike fares of city and suburban bus services. 

While BJP legislators promised to protest against any fare hike, MLAs of the ruling JD(S)-Congress coalition promised to take up the matter with the chief minister at 5 pm on Tuesday. 

Last month, the Transport Department had hiked the fares of KSRTC, BMTC, NEKRTC and NWKRTC bus services by 18%. But the chief minister put a brake on it within hours.  The Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike’s ‘Call Your MLA’ campaign succeeded in convincing eight legislators to speak to the chief minister about people’s opposition to the fare hike. 

Members of the Vedike, as well as anganwadi workers, told the MLAs in no uncertain terms that “Bengalureans already pay the highest bus fares in the country and we don’t want to pay any more”. 

Vinay Srinivasa, a member of the Vedike, said the government should support the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) through funds instead of increasing the fare hike. “We will reach out to BMTC officials and request them not to seek the hike. The government should help it through financial aid,” he said. 

“Central funds unutilised’

The BJP’s Basavanagudi MLA, L A Ravi Subramanya, told the forum that the state government had not utilised the funds allocated for the transport sector. He said the Centre had reduced the fuel prices and that the state government was wrong in hiking the fares. Another BJP MLA, S R Vishwanath of Yelahanka, has vowed to protest against any fare hike. 

JD(S) MLAs R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy and S Gopalaiah, as well as the Congress’ Ramalinga Reddy and Byrathi Suresh, said they would communicate people’s opposition to the chief minister.