BMTC tosses blame for pass 'fiasco' on to Metro

As passengers show little interest in common passes, BMTC suffers a daily loss of Rs 3.2 lakh since Metro launch, blames BMRCL for not being non-commital on the matter

The ambitious initiative of introducing a common pass for Metro trains and buses seems to have come to naught.

The BMTC had printed over 2 lakh common passes for the joint
initiative, but commuters seem to be little interested in it

For, the commuters are showing little interest in these passes and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), one of the executing agencies that is incurring a daily loss of Rs 3.2 lakh due to low sales since the Metro launch, is now blaming the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) its partner in the joint initiative, for the 'fiasco'.

In February, the BMTC and BMRCL had signed an MoU to introduce a common pass for commuters. As per the plan, BMTC went ahead and printed around 2 lakh passes.

But since the launch of the Metro services 10 days ago, the BMTC has been able to sell only about 100 passes, resulting in a loss of more than Rs 32 lakh.

"Owing to various reasons we have been suffering a loss of Rs 3.2 lakh everyday on the MG Road-Byappanahalli stretch.
We could have earned some profits through the sale of common passes, but the BMRCL has not been very clear on its stand on the passes," said M P Prabhudas, Chief Traffic Manager (operations), BMTC.

Bone of contention

The bone of contention is that the BMRCL wants the commuters to purchase a travel card for Rs 50 even after shelling out Rs 70 on the common pass.
"Why would a commuter want to shell out Rs 50 extra, when he has already spent Rs 70 to buy the pass? We had suggested the BMRCL to resort to a refund option, but until now, they have not been able to come up with clear opinion on the matter," said Prabhudas.

Stung by anxiety over spiraling losses, the BMTC that is currently operating 60 feeder buses on the stretch, is now planning to decrease the frequency of buses to mitigate bleeding of exchequer.

However, the BMRCL continues to maintain ambiguity on the issue and says there is nothing wrong in charging Rs 50 for the smart cards as without that even commuters, possessing the common pass, won't be able to gain access to the Metro station.
"We have put up information at the Metro stations to promote the BMTC services. However, we are still deliberating on how to promote the common pass," said B L Y Chavan, Spokesperson, BMRCL.

Who is the loser?
In this showdown between the two transport corporations, the commuters are yet again the eventual losers.
With BMTC's losses increasing by the day and commuters who buy the common pass are now being forced to buy the Metro pass too.

"Now on my way to office, I take a bus to a nearby metro station and from there I take the metro train to my destination.

I thought that this common pass would be very helpful, but now I'm forced to shell out Rs 50 extra for the Metro pass after paying Rs 70 daily for the BMTC common pass. This seems to be a great tactic to fleece commuters," said Nitesh T, a resident of K R Puram.

The number of common passes that BMTC sold in the past 10 days

Fact file
Losses incurred in 10 days: Rs 32 lakh
Losses faced daily: Rs 3.2 lakh
Cost of common daily pass: Rs 70
Cost for the Metro smartcard: Rs 50 
Number of common passes printed: 2 lakh
Number of common passes sold: 100

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