Friday, May 16, 2008

Hop on to a taxi, take a Volvo to the new airport

Hop on to a taxi, take a Volvo to the new airport
R Krishnakumar | TNN

Bangalore: On the long road to Devanahalli, the first mile won’t be the hardest. That’s a promise of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), after zeroing in on two taxi partners to supplement its Vayu Vajra (Volvos) and Suvarna (peak-hour) services to the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) in Devanahalli. BMTC tied up with CelCabs and SGL Tours and Travels as part of its Home Connect programme for the first-mile connectivity.
Passengers can call the two service providers and get picked up from home to be dropped at the nearest designated BMTC stop identified for the airport route. They can then take the Vayu Vajra or Suvarna service to the airport. Cab services will also be available for passengers when they return home.
Upendra Tripathy, MD, BMTC, told The Times of India that three types of cars would be in service. While the A/C two-box and three-box hatchbacks will be provided by CelCabs, the SUV service will be offered by SGL with different tariffs (see box).
“The passenger will have to make the call four hours prior to the pickup time. The phone numbers will be announced later. We hope to put the service in place when the airport opens,’’ Tripathy said. The pilot project is expected to cover 80 BMTC stops across the city.
BMTC, that initially toyed with the idea of integrated, common tickets for cab and bus services, discarded it after the model turned out to be “too complicated’’. It has now adopted a model that incorporates reduced rates for those who use the cab services.
The cab driver will deliver a coupon to the passenger, using which he can avail a 25% reduction in bus fare. If the passenger avails the cab service in the return direction as well, the reduction will be 30%. Up to six passengers (on one trip) can use this arrangement, saving substantially on bus fares, Tripathy said. BMTC is set to operate 40 Vayu Vajras and 100 Suvarna buses to the airport and has nine airport routes including Hebbal, Mysore Road satellite bus staion, Electronic City and Whitefield.
Fare meter
(One-way) From home/pick-up point to nearest BMTC bus-stop l A/C two-box cars - Rs 100 l A/C three-box cars (with luggage space) - Rs 125 l A/C SUVs - Rs 234
Two-way fare will be double the oneway fare, except with SUVs; Rs 324 will be the two-way fare. Passengers who take the cab service can avail up to a 30% reduction in bus fares.


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