I believe the primary role of a public bus operator is to provide connectivity, affordability and safety.
They should maximise on that. 60% of the city’s population is lower middle and middle class, which means affordability is priority. Reducing only AC fares, where buses run empty anyway, is tokenism on one hand and elitism on the other. If they really want to reduce traffic, the state will have to reduce non-AC bus fares which are used by majority of the 50 lakh commuters daily.
As long as safety is not compromised, the quality will be okay. Things will fall in place. There are three mass transit options that are generally connected in a city – suburban or local train, buses and metro. Anything else, like pod taxis or bike rentals, simply won’t work as you can’t scale them up. To subsidise fares, waiving off tax is a must.
It is only then the BMTC can purchase more buses and reduce fares. For instance, when the state invests in public education, it is for the future. They don’t ask how much profit we can make out of educating each child. If the state does provide funds in the future, BMTC must welcome it with open arms.
The BMTC has no business turning down money on our behalf as they are here to serve the public. World over, model European countries have figured out that public buses have to be subsidised. It is only then the traffic will reduce on the road, as bus rider ship increases.
If the state creates jobs and education opportunities in Bengaluru, resulting in large migration from other places, they have to also find a way for them to move within the city, effortlessly.
Along with this private bus operators can also be allowed to run their more luxurious and expensive services. The more, the merrier.