Monday, January 26, 2009

City for ‘flat’ fares for buses

City for ‘flat’ fares for buses

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A majority of the people in Bengaluru prefer a ‘flat fare’ in BMTC buses.

A recent survey conducted by the BMTC recently revealed that almost 74 per cent commuters voted in favour of introducing such a fare system for buses.

Traffic Engineers and Safety Trainers (TEST) organisation conducted the survey in November last year after interviewing more than 1,061 commuters and 91 drivers and conductors and some BMTC officials. The survey was done after instructions by the Central Institute of Road Transport.

The report said 46 per cent of the commuters gave the thumbs up for introducing a three-way fare that is Rs 3, 6 and 10. A total of 41 per cent preferred fares of Rs 5 and Rs 10.

Contrary to public opinion, most bus drivers and conductors voted for the introduction of a two denomination pricing system of Rs 5 and Rs 10.

Though more than half of the officials (52 per cent) expressed a similar opinion, 40 per cent of them preferred Rs 4, Rs 8 and Rs 10 for various stages saying lower fares may affect profits.

TEST in its final report has recommended the introduction of a two denomination pricing system of Rs 5 and Rs 10 for short, medium and long routes respective ly. Presently, Rs 3 is the minimum rate fixed for the first three stages.

Speaking to this newspaper, BMTC traffic consultant Prof M.N. Shrihari observed that ‘flat fare’ system will be the first step towards introducing a common ticketing system for buses, Metro Rail and high speed railway links. The ‘flat fare’ will help BMTC reduce the burden on its crew especially after introducing more buses like the Janapriyavahini which has only driver-cum-conductors.

He also said the BMTC board of directors will take the final decision on the issue. BMTC passengers say such a pricing system will help overcome the problems in giving change. “The shortage of coins is causing problems. Arguments between conductors and commuters over change is common. The new pricing system may put an end to this,” says Ramesh Gowda, a commuter.


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