Friday, April 28, 2006

BMTC seeks raise in fare to fund mega plans

BMTC seeks raise in fare to fund mega plans

The Hindu

Proposes to add 1,000 more buses to its fleet

# BMTC to acquire 250 acres of land along Ring Road
# To increase amenities for commuters
# Will open 10 more bus depots

BANGALORE: When Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) joined the bandwagon of other State Transport Undertakings (STUs) in demanding fare revision, everyone was taken by surprise.

The corporation has claimed that it is likely to post a profit of over Rs. 100 crore in 2005-06. Second, any increase in fares will encourage people to depend more on private mode of transport defeating BMTC's campaign to encourage public transport.

According to data compiled by the Association of Road Transport Undertakings (ASRTU), BMTC's earning per bus per day was more than the cost per bus per day. It was Rs. 4,436 and Rs. 3,816 respectively indicating operational surplus.

The corporation has other reasons to sustain its claim for fare revision, which is imminent with the expected increase in prices of petroleum products. It has many ambitious plans, including adding 1,000 new buses to the fleet this financial year, providing wayside amenities to commuters and decongesting the Kempe Gowda Bus Stand. BMTC Managing Director Upendra Tripathy told The Hindu that of the 1,000 new additions, 500 buses would be drafted for peak hour service — during four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening. Commuters can travel comfortably in these buses as travelling by standing would not be allowed in these buses, he said.

He said the corporation would suffer losses by this. Another 500 buses would ply on 25 grid routes identified by the corporation without touching the central business district. Mr. Tripathy said the bus stand was congested with 22,000 trips a day and BMTC intends to reduce the trips by half.

Meanwhile, BMTC would acquire over 250 acres of land along peripheral and outer ring roads in the city to provide amenities to commuters. There were no facilities for commuters along the ring road, he said.

Chief Traffic Manager Dastagir Sharief told The Hindu that the corporation would open 10 more bus depots on the periphery of the city. It has ambitious plans of building bus terminals at Yeshwanthpur and Banashankari, he said. More Volvo buses would soon be added.

Mr. Sharief said the fuel price increase in September last has cast a burden of Rs. 25 crore (per year) on the corporation.

BMTC did not increase monthly pass price in June last along with fare revision. He said monthly pass purchase has doubled and there were 2.3 lakh pass holders.

There was a significant increase in the purchase of daily passes (Rs. 25) and it has reached 1.4 lakh passes a day.


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