BMTC AC bus fares, riders' pass rates to be cheaper

Good news for Bengalureans: BMTC AC bus fares to be cheaper

The Vajra bus services are run mainly to the city's IT corridors. Credit: DH File Photo

Travelling on the BMTC’s Vajra air-conditioned buses will be cheaper as the city transporter has slashed the fares by up to Rs 20 and cut the monthly and daily pass rates in order to boost ridership hit hard by the pandemic. 

There is, however, no change in the fares of the air-conditioned bus services to the airport (Vayu Vajra) or the non-air-conditioned services. 

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has 862 air-conditioned Volvo buses. Before the pandemic, it ran about 120 of them on the airport route and plied 640 buses within the city, especially in the technology hubs. 

Thanks to the continuous rise in diesel prices, the operational cost of running AC buses has increased over the last three years. While the BMTC spends Rs 80 per km, the earning per kilometre (EPKM) has remained the same: Rs 70 on airport services and Rs 60 on city (Vajra) services. 

As if this wasn’t bad enough, the daily BMTC ridership is yet to touch the average of 36 lakh that was seen before the pandemic. Even five months after the BMTC resumed the operations, the fear of Covid has forced many commuters to switch to two-wheelers. As of last week, the daily BMTC ridership hovered around 19-20 lakh. 

In order to cut the losses, the BMTC reduced the Vajra services in the city to 21. But even on these routes, the earning per kilometre has come down by Rs 10 compared with the pre-pandemic days, a senior BMTC official said.

The transport corporation is taking a gamble by slashing the Vajra fares. “We are testing the waters with 21 buses. Slashing the fares and the monthly pass prices is a calculated effort to attract passengers,” the official added. 

Service up, price down

That’s not all. The BMTC has also slashed the price of the Vajra daily pass from Rs 147 to Rs 120. The monthly pass fare has been cut from Rs 2,363 to Rs 2,000. 

The BMTC has gone a step further and added new Vajra services on 12 routes on which 81 buses will make 412 trips. “The strategy is to make our buses a better alternative to riding a car or bike in traffic,” the official said. “The normality has brought back
traffic congestion to the roads.”