Commuters willing to shift to BMTC if fares are reduced, finds survey

A survey conducted by the advocacy group BBPV found that working class commuters spend a lot more while travelling in BMTC than in other transport modes.

The present state government has announced a series of measures to improve bus services – enhancing the bus fleet, reducing fares, introducing bus lanes and so on. The bus lanes have had a good start, but the other announcements are yet to be implemented.

We, at the advocacy group BBPV (Bangalore Bus Prayanikara Vedike), expect that the government will allot money to BMTC in the budget, so that that they can implement the announced decisions.

In the context of the upcoming budget, BBPV conducted a survey to reach out to people in the city (both bus commuters and non-bus commuters) and highlight their experiences and concerns, so that the budget can respond to common people’s needs.

  • BBPV conducts survey on mobility among the working class
  • Survey shows that working class finds fares too high; non-bus users are willing to shift to buses if fares are reduced
  • Poor connectivity and lack of frequency are also major issues for bus commuters
  • Government must fund BMTC to enable them to reduce fares and expand fleet immediately

The survey focused on drawing out the experiences of the working class in the city. BBPV members conducted the survey at bus stops, work places as well as among working class communities such as street vendors, domestic workers, pourakarmikas and garment workers. Overall, 95 respondents participated in the survey – 55.8% of them use bus for regular commute and 44.2% use other modes.

Here are the key insights from the survey:

  • Eighty per cent of the bus commuters said they find bus fares too high; 41% of non-bus users said they will shift to the bus if fares are reduced.
  • On average, bus commuters spend much higher than commuters who use other transport modes. Bus commuters spend 21% of their earnings on commute. Whereas users of other modes spend 9.5% of their earnings on commute.
  • Key issues with bus commute highlighted by all respondents: High fares (60%), Lack of convenient routes (17.3%), Service frequency (16%) and Traffic (6.7%).
  • Among the bus commuters, 72.1% use the bus because other options are more expensive or unavailable. Only 17.3% bus commuters use the bus because it is convenient. Other reasons for bus use include affordability and safety (5.8%) and suitability for long distance travel (3.8%).

(One aspect to be noted here is that, in Bengaluru, it is cheaper to use a two-wheeler than the bus. For instance, using a Honda Activa scooter will cost just Rs 2 per km, whereas 5 km in a BMTC bus costs Rs 14-17. Those who can afford to purchase a two-wheeler do so. However, many people cannot afford to buy a vehicle, and hence use the bus even though it’s costlier on a daily basis.)

The survey results once again highlight a few facts – that high fares are forcing bus users to shell out a large portion of their income on travel, thereby reducing the amount of money they have for education, health and other expenses. It also shows that if fares are reduced, two-wheeler users may shift to buses, reducing traffic congestion and pollution.

Find the complete survey details and results here.

We therefore urge the state government to

  1. Grant money to BMTC to purchase at least 3000 more buses this year and ensure that the fleet is doubled in two years.
  2. Set-up a fare stabilisation fund to help BMTC reduce fares significantly and to reduce the gap in operational expenses.
  3. Extend bus lanes to other high-density corridors.
  4. Ensure that routing and frequency is addressed through demand-mapping and discussions with commuters.
  5. Invite commuter groups for a discussion on the budget itself.

[This article is based on a press release from Bangalore Bus Prayanikara Vedike, and has been published with minimal edits.]


  1. Sn nadig says:

    First of all. The BMTC may not be conducting surveys and no ready data may not be available too to solve the problems. The travellers are the customers hence the BMTC should come with innovative ideas to satisfy them. There are many experts who are helping private sectors in business decision the BMTC should hire them for improve working methods. The commuters should relay and believe the BMTC rather any other alternatives. Hence it is the time to review the working pattern attract more commuters.

  2. ANAND L says:

    I think reducing fare doesn’t make a big difference. Only reducing travel time and long distance connectivity buses will play a role.

  3. Rupesh Chikop says:

    For nation’s economy to grow, subsidising has to go.

    People need to understand that nothing comes cheaper unless someone else is paying for it.

    Countries like Japan considers subsidies as misuse of public funds.

    People happy using their bikes aren’t depended on public funds and these people definitely don’t want limited space on Bangalore roads to be clogged by more buses.

  4. Vijay D says:

    Yes, it’s a must. As we compare with nearby other cities like Hyderabad and Chennai, Bangalore local business fares are much higher that too Bangalore is comparatively smaller in area and services are limited to most of the areas.

  5. Mridul Kumar Bhatt says:

    Last mile coverage has always been an issue. BMTC can introduce high frequency of shared tempo service in which BMTC pass is also applicable. Allowing more passes sold, more revenue, less private vehicles on road, happy commuters as they get last mile coverage

  6. Ravi says:

    Increase frequency of buses. Plan the smaller size buses for last mile access. Ticket fares to be based on actual number of stops instead of strange stage fare calc which conductors deliberately make mistakes to fleece customers. All important stick to designated routes. Lately BMTC drivers take up route change at their whims and fancies. Particularly sahakarnagar

  7. Ramu M says:

    Please increase the Ordinary Bus frequency during office hrs. Don’t concentrate more on AC Volvo Buses.. I can see more number of AC Volvo buses starting from Baiyapanahalli Metro Station than the ordinary Buses.. All cannot afford the AC Bus fare in Bangalore. It’s too much. It’s really becoming very difficult to travel in the bus especially in the evening after 6.30 PM. Taking more than 1.5 hrs to reach from ITPL to Vivekananda Metro Station.. No one can stand in the crowded Bus for that much time. I would definitely say that people started using 2 wheeler to avoid from the crowd in the Bus. Public Transport should be service Oriented.. Not money making.. Also I can see lot of BMTC buses hired by IT Companies & other MNC for their employees.. Do the BMTC compensate the buses you divert for the companies.. Do not encourage this Quick Ride, Bounce & other stuffs by the Govt.. People are focusing bon using Private vehicles rather than public transport..I am a regular commuter of BMTC. I am finding really hard to travel.

    I would say ₹1050 for the monthly pass is also high.. On a trial basis just try to cut down to half or around ₹500. You will see lot of difference.

    One final suggestion..It’s always good to use our state Language Kannada in the bus. .But try to put in English also along with Kannada as we see most of the old buses doesn’t have either number or written in English.. People hesitate to ask their destination as we don’t get that much good response.. By that time either Buses start from the spot or no seats at all to sit.. People will always opt for 2 wheelers or other mode of sharing unless untill BMTC compromises in certain things.. Thanks..

  8. Jyothir says:

    As 2 wheeler uses more road space than a car,contributes to disorder on the roads, is also more polluting and has a 0 safety. More efficient bus/tram systems with separate lanes hv been proven to be successful in many countries;China has banned motorized2wheelers in many provinces. Even if it’s subsidized,bus/tram/metro more beneficial for state as well as personal health.


    I am a senior citizen and was surprised to buy ticket at Rs 8 for next stop from 15th cross to Malleswaram circle

  10. qwerty says:

    allow usage of metro cards (kind of) in bmtc, gradually commuters will shift to BMTC Services.

  11. Malini rao says:

    Why insist on BMTC alone to provide buses? Why cant pvt bus operators be allowed in bangalore? The BMTC and its monopoly is a relic of the licence permit raj. The monopoly of BMTC must go and pvt buses should be allowed. Along with this all taxes on buses must be withdrawn and transferred to cars and two wheelers as they are destroying the environment and public health.

  12. Malini rao says:

    You are right. The BMTC is thrusting costly AC buses on the public to extract more money from them. This started almost 15 years ago and is still continuing. Bus boards must be in kannada and english as bangalore has many visitors from abroad.

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