Karnataka govt to cut BMTC fares, add 6,000 buses

Electric buses will make up 50% of the new additions.

Setting up a new a Bengaluru Mobility Management Authority (BMMA) and reducing bus fares to popularise public transport are among the measures the government has planned to reduce congestion in the city.

By identifying high traffic density roads with the help of the traffic police, the government will create dedicated bus and bicycle lanes at KR Puram, Old Madras Road, Whitefield, Marathalli and Mysuru Road.

After a meeting with officials from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) on reducing traffic congestion and making Bengaluru pollution-free, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Wednesday said, “We took up the problem of increasing traffic density and pollution in the city and decided to make Bengaluru pollution-free by adopting various measures. One of them is setting up the BMMA which will be dedicated to working along these lines.”

As the first step towards reducing pollution and decreasing congestion, and to discourage people from using private vehicles, the government has decided to hire 6,000 more buses for BMTC of which 50% will be electric buses. “The BMTC now has 6,500 buses and needs 6,000 more buses. Since buying new buses will cost around Rs 5,000 crore, we have decided to hire them at Rs 500 crore a year,” explained Yediyurappa. However, these buses will be manned by BMTC and KSRTC staffers.

Following a request by the public and to make public transport more popular and people-friendly, the government has decided to reduce BMTC fares, Yediyurappa said. Elaborating, the CM said, “The current bus fares are high, and many people feel using their own vehicle is cheaper. Considering this, we have decided to reduce fares. The exact reduction will be worked out and announced soon.”

However, according to BMTC sources, there was no proposal before them to reduce fares. “There has been no fare hike since 2015 and there is no proposal to cut fares. The chief minister may have considered the request made by the public,” said a senior BMTC official.

“The government will bear the loss arising out of the reduced fare,” said Yediyurappa.

However, the chief minister denied that there was a proposal to reduce Metro fares.

300 km metro lines

The state government on Wednesday announced the extension of Byappanahalli-Whitefield metro line till the Hoskote Cross, even as Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa set an ambitious deadline of December 2021 for completion of Phase 2 metro.

The decision on extending the metro to Hoskote Cross comes days after disqualified MLA of Hoskote, M T B Nagaraj, placed demand for the same at an event in his constituency, days before the elections.

The chief minister also said the metro network should be extended to 300 km. He also said that the Outer Ring Road and Airport metro lines should be completed 2023, a deadline that the officials said would be difficult to meet considering the fact that the Centre was yet to approve the two projects.

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