Back in Bangalore for a second time this year.
One of the front page news on Thursday’s TOI newspaper (Bangalore edition) was that take a ride in BMTC’s premium Volvo city bus service for just Rs.1. I was also a bit surprised at this news. The fare I had paid for my Volvo trips the earlier day was Rs.25/- for Domlur – Marathali Bridge section and Rs.15/- for Marathali Bridge – Sarjapur Jn. Section.
When I ride one Thursday morning at Marathali Bridge, I had kept a 1 rupee coin ready. The lady conductor was asking everyone to give one rupee change. Though hard to digest, the 1 rupee fare is a reality. Some of the Volvo regulars, who did not have time to read morning newspaper, was taken by surprise at this huge discount. As the bus progressed, more and more people had started getting into the bus. Soon the bus was full and it started to feel a bit suffocating. This is not what the premium service is meant for. I saw even a guy, who appears to be regular Volvo user, getting off after traveling hardly two stoppages, apparently to travel by other means.
The transport minister had reasoned that this is done to entice the bikers to use this bus service. Such a stupid idea. It is another example of the mental bankruptcy of our administrators. A biker will never trade his bike ride for a bus ride because a bike provides a cheap point to point ride -- right from his doorstep to gate of his office. Thus instead of bikers, it were the people who normally uses other type of cheaper city buses had crowded the buses.
Next morning the same newspaper (TOI) carried an article with photos telling that the 1 rupee fare scheme is a huge success. It also cited a different reason this time for the scheme. Such a crape! The reason for success is that the largesse had made the air-conditioned Volvo city buses the cheapest mode of transport for the day. Therefore only the fools and stupidest would have traveled by normal buses. This is just throwing a free ride for those people who would never ever travel by these once original fare is restored in 4 days. The fare of Volvo buses is too high for them to afford.
With a running cost of Rs.52/- per kilometer, the Volvo service is positioned as a premium service targeted for a certain set of users who are willing to pay the price for a comfortable travel. This stupid scheme of the government had put the regular users into lot of trouble. Instead of providing a feel of comfortable journey, it had made one to get out and travel by a regular bus. Unfortunately they will have to face this music till Sunday, the 14th Sept.