Issue of BMTC’s student passes delayed by new procedure

Issue of BMTC’s student passes delayed by new procedure

The process of switching to a new procedure for issuing BMTC student passes, aimed at streamlining the system and reducing the burden on students, has delayed the rollout of the passes.  

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation has made colleges play a major role in issuing the pass. Students do not have to stand in long queues as their role is limited to paying the fare.

"Staffers in the institutions have to upload the information on the students' chosen travel route on an online database. Since it is a new system, initial hiccups are expected. Some of them are sending applications now. The process will be completed by the end of the month," BMTC managing director V Ponnuraj said.

Under the new system, a nodal officer will enter details of each student on the Student Achievement Tracking System (SATS) of the education department. The database already contains all the information, except the travel route. Students do not have to submit their caste certificate, fee receipt and other documents.

Smartcard pass

The smart bus pass, which stores the information on a student's chosen route, will be sent to the school. For high school students, the passes will be sent home by post.

On whether technical issues in the smartcard system were the reason for the delay, Ponnuraj said it was the procedure, not the technology that has led to the delay.

Two types of smartcards will be issued — one requiring yearly renewal and the other with a three-year validity. Tapping a smartcard on the electronic ticketing machine (ETM) will display the route chosen by the student.

The one-time payment of the smartcard is likely to see a marginal hike from the current Rs 25.

Students forced out

Several students have complained that despite showing the passes or smartcards, conductors force them to pay the fare or make them alight.

"I travel with my classmates from Kalyan Nagar to Lowry High School (in KR Puram) regularly. Some conductors accept our smartcards and passes. But many have told us that our passes are not valid and forced us to buy tickets. If we do not have money, we have to get down and wait for another bus, hoping that the conductor will allow us to ride," said Melvyn, a student.

Students travelling on buses from Dasarahalli to Malleswaram also had a similar story to tell. "One conductor initially did not object. He later checked my pass and said it was not renewed and I had to buy a ticket," said Sandeep.

BMTC officials said all depot heads have been told to inform drivers and conductors to allow students with last year's passes. "It's a minor problem caused by a communication gap. We will inform the conductors again," the official said.