On the occasion of Kannada Rajyotsava celebrations in Raichur on Wednesday, November 1, Karnataka Transport Minister HM Revanna has apparently suggested banning the online booking facility of private bus operators.
HM Revanna has reportedly made that statement as the state-run corporations are incurring losses due to the availability of many private bus services across Karnataka to nearby states. Since passengers are opting for private buses, the government is planning to stop their online ticket booking facilities in order to safeguard KSRTC, he claimed.
However, the transport minister said the tickets for state-run buses will be available online even after the ban.
He has also accused the private bus operators of charging heavily. He added that the number of buses of the North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation will be increased soon.
If the state government implements this rule in Karnataka, it will be a huge blow for the private players in the transport business.
But what's wrong with the state government?
Bengaluru, a metro city known for its IT sector, has people from across the country working in the capital. Passengers have several times raised the issue of surge pricing by private bus operators, especially during the weekends and festive season.
If this new rule gets materialised, are all passengers supposed to go directly to Madiwala or Kalashipalayam to book tickets in advance every time they plan to visit home? The offline operators may charge for services as well. How will that be contained?
The more practical solution can be introducing a price cap over tickets rather than banning online booking facility.
But why do many opt for private buses despite high ticket pricing? The reason can be that private buses offer many pickup points and the availability of tickets is higher.
"I am a person, who depends on public transport to travel to my hometown. Normally, I don't get tickets on KSRTC, be it Karnataka or Kerala, as all the tickets would be sold out moments after the online booking gets opened. Does that mean the state-run corportion is facing a huge revenue loss? If they are worried about private buses over charging then put a cap on that," Albin Suresh, a software engineer working in Bengaluru said.
"Another lovely step after banning pillions..Stoping online booking..!! People are anyways free and traffic is less, they can travel to any corner of Bangalore to book their tickets...Just that they apply an additional leave just to book tickets.. or they can book KSRTC bus and travel to nearest city and book another private bus. Simple it is.. [sic]," Mandava Sree Pavan Teja commented.
"If govt wanna increase ksrtc revenue, they should improve on time performance, quality service, extend service across all cities of neighbouring states rather than coming up with poor ideas like this. Wondering what IAS n other govt officers doing in Karnataka," said Mohanraj Rajendran.