Losses mount, BMTC seeks 18.5% fare hike

BMTC said the hike has become necessary to make the corporation viable

BMTC has sought a hike in fares for its non-AC buses by 18.5% citing rising diesel prices and continued imbalance in expenditure and revenue.

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) managing director V Ponnuraj said the hike has become necessary to make the corporation viable as the cumulative losses are expected to go up this financial year.

“We hope the hike will bring in an additional Rs 220 crore per annum, to compensate for the losses we are suffering due to the rising diesel prices and the employee expenditure,” the managing director said.

Principal Secretary, Transport Department, B Basavaraju said the proposal will be sent to the minister and discussions will be held before taking any decision.

BMTC hiked its fares by 15% in April 2014 citing increasing diesel prices. The traffic revenue increased to Rs 199 crore that year compared with the Rs 177 crore recorded in 2013-14. However, the revenue dropped by about Rs 8.5 crore in the following financial year as the ridership started sliding.

The corporation carries about 45 lakh riders every day, compared to the peak of 52 lakh riders it recorded in 2014. Experts have repeatedly urged the government to extend funds to ensure that bus fares remain subsidised.

The announcement of a Rs 100-crore grant to BMTC in the 2018-19 budget seems too little to help the corporation which had cumulative losses of more than Rs 600 crore. This, despite an exemption from paying Rs 120 crore.

Vinay K Srinivas of Bangalore Bus Prayanikara Vedike acknowledged that the BMTC needs funds but cautioned that any hike in fares will hurt commuters as well as the corporation. “People commuting by city buses are already paying more compared to cities in other states. The higher fare may not translate into increased revenue for BMTC as some of its passengers are likely to shift to two-wheelers, reducing ridership and revenue,” he said.

He stressed that the Union government should reduce diesel prices immediately to mitigate the problems of the public transport sector. “We will protest hike in fares. It is the responsibility of the state government to take necessary steps to ensure the corporation doesn’t suffer,” he added.

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Losses mount, BMTC seeks 18.5% fare hike


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