Bengaluru which was initially known as Bangalore is also known as ‘Silicon Valley’ because it is a hub for Information technology companies in the country. Bengaluru also got the lion’s share of highly educated migrants i.e. both graduate and postgraduates of about 47.7%, which was more than Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad at 36.6%, 36.2% and 29% respectively.
Bengaluru was also reported with the highest percentage of intrastate migration of about 33.8% followed by Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kolkata at 29.2%, 25.3%, 20.2% and 19.6% respectively. The migration has made Bengaluru the 3rd largest populated city in India. Bengaluru is facing the same kind of issues as any other fastest growing cities in the developing nations such as; water shortage, a waste management problem, public health issues, social and economic inequality, traffic jam, not enough mode of public transport etc. are the most addressed nowadays by the people.
Among all these issues, there is an issue which is also affecting directly and indirectly towards the middle class and poor class people is the rise in the bus fare. Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) owns a monopoly for city public transportation as Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRC) started functioning only in two lines recently. Right before the city cabs, Ola and Uber become functional in the year 2014-15 and there were no other means of transportation apart from private and organisations' vehicle, and the BMTC was the sole public transport.
Around 6 years back, when the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) used to borrow money from the central government and state government of Delhi and ran on losses beyond Rs.200 crore annually and Mumbai at Rs.50 crores, Bengaluru used to earn a profit of around Rs.20 crores yearly. However, the BMTC used to pay Rs.3000 crores for fuel alone and used to pay high-income tax to the state government when the other city bus transport still was trying to break even and never had a nightmare to pay the taxes to the government.
It is still the only means of transportation for the lower middle class and poor class people but, the maximum fare of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is 39, 20 and 29 rupees and minimum fare is 5, 3 and 4 rupees for adult, children and senior citizen respectively for ordinary bus services (red and whiteboard). The minimum distance covered in 6 rupees’ ticket is not more than a half kilometre. The daily passes are of two types i.e. Ordinary Day Pass rupees 65 (with Valid BMTC ID) rupees70 (without ID) and Gold Day Pass of Rs.140. If you show the BMTC ID also the conductor says ‘65 rupees’ pass is not available so you could buy 70 rupees pass’.
The gold day pass of rupees 140 could be used in both ordinary and Vajra buses. The problem here in many routes the AC buses are not available often, for instance from Bansankari to Silk-Board. In such cases after taking the gold day pass also one needs to travel by normal buses and, if one has to travel long distances then in some route the ordinary buses are not available often then one needs travel by AC buses. Therefore, for many a route, the ordinary daily passes are not comfortable.
The ordinary blackboard monthly bus pass is issued with the payment of Rs.825 and; the ordinary red board bus pass is issued with the payment of Rs.1050 which is not acceptable in Volvo or Vajra buses and airport buses. Again here the limitation of using pass is there. Vajra Gold Monthly Pass is issued with the payment of Rs.2250 (with BMTC ID card) Rs.2300 (without BMTC ID card but, with any government approved ID) and Rs.1500 (with student ID). The colour of the passes is Brown, Pink and Blue respectively. These passes are accepted in both Vajra and ordinary buses but, both monthly and the daily passes are not accepted Vayu Vajra bus or the airport buses.
The “Vayu Vajra bus Services’ is for the airport which, has minimum and the maximum fare is Rs.100 and Rs.320 respectively. Especially people whose workplaces are far, try to pool the city cab as ‘Ola and Uber’ is one of the fast moving consumer services and it is comfortable and available in doorstep, almost in the same cost. It is mostly applicable to the people who could minimum afford the AC bus passes. People who cannot afford to take city cabs still travel by BMTC buses. It was reported in the year 2017 that Bangalore buses could replace 50 cars and 200 bikes and a bus carries only 1000 passengers.
It is one of the costliest bus services in India as it has more than seven fare hikes in the last 3 years. It has become unaffordable for the factory workers and other people holding blue collar job who earn only 5000 to 7000 rupees per month. People those who cannot afford cabs choose to use a two-wheeler. Less number of fleets also leads to an increase in private transport on the road which is one of the reasons for traffic jam, which is one of the prominent problems in the city.
Though the BMTC is suffering the fuel hike and tax problem, it is not fair to loot public in such a way. Not only by cutting down the bus ticket rates but also, they should optimize the routes so that it will become convenient for the public and the bus could also earn a normal profit. A strong planning and a good direction is the need of the hour for transportation cooperation.