Passengers say private operators are fleecing them

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Following complaints of overcharging, Transport Department instructs operators to follow fare structure of KSRTC and BMTC

Many commuters relying on private bus operators, who have been given permits by the government on account of the indefinite strike by road transport corporation (RTC) employees, have claimed that they are being fleeced

Citing public interest, the Transport Department allowed private bus and van operators to ferry passengers from major bus stands in the city such as Majestic and Mysuru Road satellite bus terminal. The department also relaxed permit norms, providing tax benefits for a month so that more number of private operators run their vehicles. However, some of the operators, to make a quick bucks, are reportedly overcharging passengers.

Sunil, who was waiting at the KSRTC bus station at Majestic, said, “I came from Chikkamagaluru on Thursday morning. Usually, for a non-AC bus, it costs ₹260 to ₹300, but the conductor charged me ₹600. I had some business-related work, so I had to pay double the amount and travel. I don’t know how much I will have to pay for the return journey.”

Even in the city, people who usually take Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses to commute to work said they had to pay double the fare for a short-distance travel.

Passengers at the KSRTC bus station at Majestic from where private buses are operating.
 
| Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

With mounting complaints of passengers being fleeced, department officials stepped in and did the rounds of bus stops.

The department also held talks with bus operators and instructed them to display routes and fare charges on the windshields of the vehicles. Joint Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban, K.T. Halaswamy said, “Instructions have been given to the operators to follow the fare structure of the KSRTC and the BMTC and not to overcharge. Our squads at bus stops will take necessary action against those who overcharge passengers.” The department claims that around 21,000 buses, vans, and maxicabs are allowed to operate.

Principal Secretary of the Transport Department Anjum Parvez claimed that only those vehicles which had fitness certificate and other necessary documents were allowed to operate.

Ramachandra, a passenger, said, “In the time of pandemic, transport employees should not have gone on a strike. They are causing a lot of inconvenience to the general public. What would have happened if private bus operators did not come? But this arrangement is temporary. The State government should resolve the issues as early as possible.”

Action against trainee employees

Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation on Thursday sent out a strong message to trainee employees for taking part in the strike.

On Thursday, 96 employees were dismissed from service, and notices served on over 1,500 for taking part in the strike. Managing Director C. Shikha said, “Those who are dismissed from the service did not report to duty despite getting notice. As per the rules, trainee employees cannot take part in the strike. Many more dismissals from service will happen if trainee employees continue to remain absent and take part in the strike.” Meanwhile, the KSRTC suspended 32 trainee employees.

R. Chandrashekar, president of the Karnataka State Road Transport Employees League, said, “We are exploring legal options against the corporation for dismissing the trainee employees. It is a tactic to pressurise the employees.”



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