How long can BMTC buses to airport stave off rate hike?

While the recent toll hike has sent commuters and flyers into a tizzy, it has also changed the mathematics for the state-run transport corporations which will now be incurring hefty expenditure owing to the manifold  increase in the toll.

Lending some relief to commuters, however, officials have ruled out any hike in the fares of BMTC run buses bound for KIA immediately. This is despite having to pay Rs 91,500 every day additionally as toll by BMTC buses and Rs 81,490 per day additional toll by KSRTC buses.

Consequently, on an annual basis, BMTC will be paying Rs 3.33 crore additionally as  toll on this road while the KSRTC will be shelling out Rs 2.97 crore as additional amount towards toll per year. On an average per day, BMTC buses make 732 round trips while KSRTC buses make 470 trips every day on this road.

Already, the commuters are reeling under the hefty hike of 15 per cent in BMTC bus fares and about 8 per cent on KSRTC buses. Sources say that though the officials are denying any immediate hike in the fares of the Airport-bound buses, with Rs 140 crore losses suffered by BMTC in 2013-14 and the overall expenditure of the corporation going up by   Rs 300 crore on account of increase in the diesel price and increasing staff cost, the BMTC might soon find itself unable to cope up with the toll hike burden.

However, if at all the BMTC hikes the fares for the airport-bound buses, it will bring the rates on a par with that of taxis and cabs which ply on this route. In an obvious situation, the commuters will be the king and travelling in cabs and taxis will be the choice for flyers.

Says Shaheen, an IT professional who frequently flies to Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad, “Even though travelling in BMTC KIA buses is comfortable, but nowadays there are so many cabs and taxis which ply for a flat rate of Rs 600-650. If I am travelling alone with less luggage, I take the bus.

Otherwise, many a time I share the taxi with another passenger and pay only about Rs 100 more than I pay for the bus. For the comfort of a car, Rs 100 does not make much difference. If the BMTC now hikes the fares of these buses, who will take a bus to the airport,” she asked.

Raghav, project manager, Wipro, says “I have travelled out of the city four times in the past six months and had to catch a flight, so I used the KIA bus services thrice. Each time I spent around Rs 230-250 one way. But if the fares are going up manifold, it makes more sense to take a cab which charges a flat rate and offers you comfort rather than spending almost the same amount in a bus.

Satish Naidu, IT professional and a resident, Whitefield:

“It’s natural for the Corporation to hike the fare of Vayu Vajra services, given the toll hike. But it should also keep commuters’ interest in mind.

A via media is needed to avoid this situation. Otherwise, it will lead to daily confrontation between the general public and those in authority.

Saga of a sleepy village

In 1980s and 1990s, there was no plan to make it a highway and tolled highway

Devanahalli was all about farmlands growing vegetables, the road was ordinary

North Bangalore wasn’t thought of as a industry destination then

Around 2000, IT was booming in B’lore, IT czars suggested new airport

Governments responded positively and launched construction of KIAL

After a 2004 pact, airport was inaugurated on May 24, 2008

There was not much work on the road in 2005-06

Eventually decision was taken to make it a national highway (NH) and upgrading work began post-2009

The road is entirely upgraded and in 2014, it is a tolled NH

It is now the Bangalore-Hyderabad highway which will be upgraded all
the way

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