Students fret as BMTC switches to smart cards

The BMTC received 2.4 lakh applications for bus passes this year, out of which 1.05 lakh passes have been issued. (DH File Photo)

As the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) attempts to provide smart cards in the place of student bus passes, school and college goers are inconvenienced as they are unable to avail the facility.

Arguments between conductors insisting on full tickets and students asserting their right to travel in the concessional passes, and fellow commuters stepping in to pacify them, have become common occurrences in the buses.

Schools began their academic year in the last week of May and the first week of June amidst debate over the merit of offering free bus passes.

But as the BMTC introduced smart cards in the place of bus passes for the first time this year, nearly half of the eligible students commute paying for the full ticket fare.

Amid the raging controversy over concessional passes, students say that getting the smartcards in the place of regular bus passes is an arduous task.

“We applied for the bus pass, but are yet to avail the smart card. We’re asked to show our acknowledgement, receipt and ID card as proof,” said Shivani, one of the students.

On Saturday, a conductor on board a bus to Mayo hall from Corporation circle was involved in a heated argument with students on the bus pass issue. The conductor said they are not instructed to accept acknowledgement in the place of a bus pass.

Top BMTC officials acknowledged the delay in issuing the passes due to the delay in switching to smart cards. “There’s no issue with other transport companies. Even the KSRTC has dispensed with the applications. The delay is only with the BMTC,” said an official.

The BMTC received 2.4 lakh applications for bus passes this year, out of which 1.05 lakh passes have been issued.

The official concerned said there is no short supply of smart cards. “This is the first time we are giving smart cards. Previously, students had to come to designated centres and submit details and documents. Now it has been made available online,” said the official.

He attributed the delay to students and institutions providing incorrect information, due to which forms had to be sent back for correction.

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Students fret as BMTC switches to smart cards

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