Protest against hike in metro card top-up level

Last Updated 30 March 2019, 02:11 IST

The wave of opposition to a hike in minimum balance on the metro smart card saw its first physical representation in the form of a protest at the Town Hall on Friday.

In a sudden move on Wednesday, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) hiked the minimum balance from Rs 8.50 to Rs 50, leaving many commuters stranded.

Officials had said the decision was taken to end the problem of long queues at exit gates, created by passengers with low balance recharging at customer care centres.

On Friday, a small group of commuters gathered in front of Town Hall to protest against the "autocratic decision".

Krushika A V, on a two-day visit to the city, said he was one of the 300 commuters who got stranded at the Sampige Road metro station for not having the minimum balance.

"I had Rs 39 and offered to recharge the card by Rs 11 to ensure compliance with the rule. But a metro staffer said Rs 50 is the minimum recharge amount. I don't understand why commuters have to shell out so much money when they don't need it," he said.

Krushika and 300 others staged a protest at the metro station and demanded that metro officials address them.

"Many protesters left after 10 pm. I waited till 12.30 am but the police came and convinced me to return there the next day. On Thursday, I didn't stage a protest but metro officials got me arrested by the Malleswaram police," he added.

Burden on poor

Guruprasad D N, another commuter, said the BMRCL's decision would hurt the poor. "It's a huge blow to the poor who want to get the discount on travel. We pay Rs 50 to buy the card. If anyone didn't have the money to pay for the exit, the BMRCL should have confiscated their card. Imposing such a rule on everyone shows total disregard for commuters," he added.

Krushika and Ramesh Adiga, another protester, said the BMRCL should have consulted the public before taking such a decision.

"We have submitted a memorandum and will continue this protest," they added.

(Published 29 March 2019, 19:30 IST)

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