BMTC tweaks fares: pay less for short distances, more for long trips

BMTC tweaks fares: pay less for short distances, more for long trips

The BMTC has revised fares of non-AC and AC buses, reducing the fare by Rs 2 (non-AC) and Rs 5 (AC) for short distances while hiking the fare for longer distances with effect from Saturday.

Non-AC bus commuters will pay Rs 10 instead of Rs 12 for stage-2 (4 km), while those travelling to further stages of 4,6 and 8 will pay Rs 15, Rs 20 and Rs 22.

Announcing the “fare rationalisation” on Thursday, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy described it as a move to overcome the problem of tendering change of Rs 2 and Re 1 but did not explain the move behind hiking the fare for stage 8 from Rs 21 to Rs 22.

The move, especially the cut in fares of AC buses, suggests that the Bangaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is finally gearing up to compete with cab aggregators Ola and Uber, whose ride-sharing option helps people commute short distances of 4 to 6 km at a cost ranging from Rs 40 to Rs 60.

AC buses

The fares of AC buses were reduced by Rs 5 for various stages, with the minimum fare now coming down to Rs 10 for travelling 2 km. Commuters who were paying Rs 35 (stage-3), Rs 45 (stage-4) and Rs 95 (stage-14) will pay Rs 5 less from Saturday. Commuters travelling longer distances on AC buses will have to shell out more as a hike of Rs 5 will come into effect in the fares for stages 10, 13, 16, 18, 19 and 22 (see the box).

BMTC managing director Ekroop Caur said the reduction of stage 2 fare will benefit around 30% of 52 lakh daily commuters who travel short distances.

When asked whether the tweak will hurt the BMTC, Ramalinga Reddy said the BMTC will suffer a loss of Rs 4.5 lakh due to cut in fares of non-AC (Rs 1.5 lakh) and AC (Rs 3 lakh) buses. The Bengaluru Bus Prayanikara Vedike and Citizens for Bengaluru, which have been seeking lower fares and additional buses, said the fare rationalisation was an eyewash.

In a statement, volunteers of the two groups said the move offers limited benefits to commuters. “We want to ask the state government why they cannot support the BMTC financially in order to reduce their fares by half,” the statement said.

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