Reducing BMTC fares can improve mobility in Bengaluru: Study

A recent study conducted by a Bengaluru-based research lab ‘Fields of Views’ reveals that reducing the fares of public transport especially buses can increase in ridership and decrease in traffic congestion and vehicular emissions. However, the citizens and citizen organisations are already demanding the government to lower down the fares of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) services.

The study presented a scenario-based analysis on BMTC’s fare revision and state that doing so can benefit all the stakeholders and can turn out to be a good enough strategy to take the urban mobility forward in a sustainable fashion.

As per the researchers who examined the impact on three scenarios, there was an increase in ridership after a reduction of 10 percent in fare prices. However, increasing 10 percent in fare prices will lead to a possible slump of 20 percent in ridership and will push up the annual loss by Rs 220 crore.

On loss of the transport corporation the research stated that the gross loss of BMTC in 2018-2019 was Rs 538.2 crore. “For 10 percent slump in fare, the implication on revenue for BMTC ranges from reduction of this loss by Rs 362.2 crore to an increase of loss by Rs 183 crore,” the study added.

In order to analyse and understand the impact of change in fare in public transportation, the researchers studied the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST), Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), and the DMRC–Airport express line and considered demand elasticity, generation of revenue through ridership and the profit and loss of the BMTC.

Further, the study emphasised on the importance of increasing the capacity and fleet with respect to the population of the city. There is a need for the BMTC to have 14,952 buses to touch the country’s average of 1.2 buses per 1,000 population, added the research.

The citizens and citizen organisations in Bengaluru are already demanding the reduction in fares of the public transport, said Srinivasa Alavilli of Citizens for Bengaluru (CfB). “We had requested Deputy Chief Minister CN Ashwath Narayan to reduce the fare and announce it in the budget and had also written to the Chief Minister. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Investment in public transport is investment in public health,” Srinivasa said.

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