On its latest decision, the Karnataka government has resumed its public transport services as the nation enters into the fourth phase of the lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) along with the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses has resumed its services with fewer than 30 passengers under strict restrictions and precautions.
BMTC charges high fares for passes
As the number of passengers allowed are so less, the bus operators, after months of screeching halt of all its services, find no way out to compensate their loss induced by the lockdown rather than through high travel fares.
As a strong blow on the travellers, the BMTC has increased its bus fares to a minimum of Rs 70 (daily pass) even for single-trip journeys. This additionally troubled most of the travellers who took the buses while being unaware of the transport utility's decision to issue only passes and not the regular tickets.
The new travel fares for passes issued by BMTC are priced Rs 70, Rs 300 and Rs 1,050 for daily, weekly and month passes respectively.
According to a passenger, "During my journey, many passengers got off the bus when the conductor told them that they had stopped issuing tickets. What is the point in paying Rs 70 for a daily pass when we have to travel for less than a kilometre or two? It's bizarre that conductors are collecting cash to issue passes but are not issuing tickets."
Passes instead of tickets
Meanwhile, the BMTC officials stated that the new decision on issuing passes was implemented to minimise cash transactions and discourage people from undertaking unnecessary travel involving long distances till month-end. "More people might travel unnecessarily if the fare is low," spoke an official to the media.
The BMTC has restarted its services after two months of inactivity but its decision to temporarily discontinue regular tickets and sell passes instead made commuting unaffordable for many. The commuters for short distances are the worst hit.
In addition to the fewer passengers allowed inside the buses, the precautionary measures by BMTC includes wearing of masks by both bus operators as well as the passengers.
Sanitisers will be provided in the buses although he passengers should ensure that they carry one. Digital ticketing through QR code scanning will also be trialled on 75 buses under a plan for cashless and contactless transactions.