Time to usher in the change

Time to usher in the change

Passengers travelling without tickets can be found almost everyday in BMTC buses. Keeping this in mind, the BMTC had intensified its check on passengers without tickets and had said that the transport sector would be able to provide better services only if passengers buy tickets.

Raju, a conductor, says that this situation often arises when the passenger doesn’t have the exact change to provide.

“It’s a battle getting the right amount of change from the customer. Often, when passengers travel short distances, collecting the change skips the conductors’ attention. The passengers exit the bus without paying for the ticket,” says Raju.
He also says that both passengers and conductors could be at fault. If a ticket inspector  finds a passenger travelling without ticket, the conductor is given a notice and the passenger is fined.

Erashetty, a traffic inspector at Shivajinagar bus stand, says, “The tickets are decided according to each stage. Each stage is two kilometres long and the ticket fares start from Rs five onwards and increase according to each stage to
Rs eight and onwards.

The offences, when tickets are not issued, fall into two categories — not issued and not collected, and not issued and amount collected.”

Erashetty adds that the penalty for not buying a ticket falls into the 1:10 ratio.

If the ticket costs Rs five, then the fine collected on no ticket bought will Rs 50, and onwards.

While the BMTC tries to improve its services, they also say that if the money which they should rightly get as revenue is not acquired, then they wouldn’t be able to provide better options.

“We have launched more Volvo buses, and we need these sources of money to flow in regularly, so that the BMTC can scrap old buses and add new ones,” says B M Ramachandraiah, chief security and vigilance of BMTC.

He says, “From April 2012 to March 2013, 54,914 cases were booked against conductors and Rs 1,01,68,193 was collected as fine from the 94,095 ticketless passengers. In 2013, the months of April and May saw 8,638 cases booked against conductors, where in 14,137 ticketless passengers were fined Rs 17,75,673.”

When asked if the number of such cases is increasing, Ramachandraiah says that it depends on the batches of ticket inspectors deployed, and one can’t really say.

Devatha Venugopal, administrative staff with a company, says, “Public transport
services, like the BMTC, are government property. A passenger should be responsible enough to buy tickets whenever he or she travels and should prompt others to do the same. Otherwise, it is a loss for the government.

If increased checks are conducted on important routes, people will always have the fear of being caught.”

Others feel that it is very unfair when checking of tickets is not done
properly.

Bejal Patel, a college student, says “We should be aware of our responsibility towards BMTC. Ticketless travellers should be heavily fined and checking should be made stricter.”

She adds that there has to be a way to curb free rides. “We could probably adopt the method used in Western countries, where one has to pay through tokens as soon
as one boards the bus,” she sums up.

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