Monday, May 03, 2010

Final effort to make Vajra earn profits

Final effort to make Vajra earn profits

Anil Kumar Sastry
Promotional lower fares on non-IT sector brought on a par with IT sector fares

BANGALORE: After umpteen efforts to bring its premium service — Vajra (Volvo) — out of the red went in vain, the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) has done away with differential fare structure for these services.

Tuesday night's fare rationalisation of Vajra (Volvo) services has brought the fares of the premium services on the non-IT sector on a par with the fares on IT sector.

Last week, the corporation contemplated cutting down on the number of routes on which the premium services were being operated to increase the operational efficiency on profit-making routes.

“These two initiatives will be our last effort to make the operation of premium services a sustainable venture. We cannot go on incurring losses of about Rs. 3 crore every month. If these efforts too do not yield any result, we may reconsider operating the premium services,” said a senior BMTC official.

With the fare rationalisation, the minimum fare of Rs. 5 on non-IT sector has become Rs. 10 and the maximum fare of Rs. 45 has gone up to Rs. 75. The corporation has also increased the rate of Vajra Gold Pass, which allows the pass holder to travel on any class of BMTC service except the airport service, from Rs. 75 to Rs. 80.

The corporation has over 370 Vajra coaches in its fleet meant for city operation and these coaches are operated on about 60 routes. The frequency of operation is high on IT-sector routes — Hosur Road, HAL Airport Road, Old Madras Road and Bannerghatta Road and Ring Roads connecting the IT corridors. To increase the revenue generation, the corporation is planning to concentrate on the IT sector corridors and routes connecting these corridors.

BMTC has also procured 98 AC Suvarna (Tata Marcopolo) coaches under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, the fares of which were marginally increased on Tuesday night. The minimum fare on these services was Rs. 5 and the maximum Rs. 25. The route rationalisation of the premium services is done on the basis of feedback got from the three editions of Bus Day observed by the corporation during the last three months, the official said.

BMTC operated buses on high frequency on the five major IT corridors and claimed that the commuter response was good. The premium services were introduced to woo users of personalised modes of transport, particularly cars.


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