BMTC plans free Wi-Fi at stations, but commuters want fare cut

BMTC plans free Wi-Fi at stations, but commuters want fare cut

BMTC has initiated steps to provide free Wi-Fi at 12 major bus terminals, but a group of activists said the corporation should focus on providing affordable services.

The BMTC has invited tenders and the successful bidder will instal all equipment. The corporation’s role is limited to providing space and electricity. The 4-mbps Wi-Fi facility at the Majestic terminal will allow 250 concurrent users. As many as 100 commuters can access free Wi-Fi simultaneously at Shivajinagar. Shantinagar (50 users), Jayanagar (50), Kengeri (50) and Banashankari (50) will have the facility.

But members of Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike and Citizens of Bengaluru (CfB), opined that the corporation should focus on providing affordable and dependable service.

“There is no doubt that free Wi-Fi will benefit commuters. However, the BMTC should first provide affordable bus service,” said Srinivas Alavalli of CfB.

“The bus fare is highest in Bengaluru compared to other major cities. The obsession with technology should not get preference over their primary duty,” he said.

Vinay Srinivasa of the Vedike said, “We sought opinions of people at Shivajinagar. Everyone complained of low bus frequency. When asked about fares, they said it was high, but they had no other way. We don’t need AC buses and Wi-Fi facilities. We need a system that offers affordable transport.”

BMTC managing director Ekroop Caur said improving passenger amenities will be accompanied by increasing frequency of buses. “As of now, we can’t bring down costs. Our revenues are nowhere near our expenditures in light of the rise in diesel prices and pay revisions,” she said.

Noting that BMTC has already placed work order for new buses, the MD said 1,658 buses will be inducted by May, of which over 800 buses will join the fleet by March. “We are aware of demands for increasing frequency of services. These will be met within a few months,” she said.

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