Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cabbies hijack passengers of BIA-bound Volvo buses

Cabbies hijack passengers of BIA-bound Volvo buses

BMTC's Vayu Vajra bus services are facing challenge from unexpected quarters

Shwetha S. Bangalore

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has been chalking out various measures and putting them to action to encourage people to use public transport in city.
One such major initiative was to introduce regular Volvo buses to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) from various parts of the city. However, some private cabs have been robbing the BMTC of its passengers, resulting in heavy losses to the Corporation, forcing it to slash its fares from Mekhri Circle and Hebbal bus stop points.
When the BMTC initially found a drop in passengers opting for the BIA services, it presumed the high fares might be deterring them from using the service from shorter distances, like Mekhri Circle and Hebbal. However, it was soon found that private cabs, not attached to any cab or travel service company, were luring BMTC passengers from these stops by ferrying them to the airport for the same bus fare.
DNA decided to do a reality check. This correspondent stood at the Mekhri Circle bus stop waiting as a passenger travelling to BIA, when a private cab driver approached her, saying: "We will charge you the bus fare, and you can reach the airport sooner."
It was a common sight to see many passengers being lured with such talk by several such private cab drivers, thus leaving the BMTC buses to run empty. Official sources at BMTC said they have been suffering heavy losses ever since these private cabs started luring passengers away. "There are about 63 Vayu Vajra buses plying to BIA from across the city. They have been found picking up BIA passengers extensively from Silk Board, Mekhri Circle and Hebbal stops. They primarily catch hold of passengers from open stops, as we do have passengers travelling from closed bus stations like the traffic and transit management centres. Now, we have slashed the rates from certain points and have also deployed traffic controllers in such places to keep the touts at bay."

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