Tips for a peaceful bus journey in Bangalore

Having exact change is the best way to avoid clashes with conductors. Pic: Shree D N

She steps into a BMTC bus in some part of Bangalore; asks for ticket, paying Rs.100; conductor says he doesn’t have change. Argument over change turns ugly, as she doesn’t understand what the conductor is speaking in Kannada. Not able to control her anger, she slaps him.

Result: She ends up in judicial custody, for assaulting the conductor. (Src: Bangalore Mirror)

What Swati faced is a historical problem in buses everywhere in India – not just Bangalore. Bus conductors usually don’t have change; some of them who have it, want to pocket it. Reasons could be many – they could be greedy; they might be paid less; their expenditure might be higher than the income – and so on.

However, getting into altercations with others, including conductor, wastes your own energy. Being wise, diplomatic and planned helps avoid such situations.

How do you identify you won’t get your change back? How do you chase your change?

  • Conductor doesn’t write the balance amount behind the ticket. In such cases, you need to be alert and ask him/her politely to write the balance.
  • Conductor writes the balance, but goes back and hides soemwhere behind in the crowd as you are nearing your stop. You need to hunt him/her down, craning your neck amid the crowd.
  • Your memory lapse is a celebration for the conductors who don’t want to let go of the change. If you want your change, never ever forget to ask.
  • There are some smart conductors who bluntly put their responsibility on you, by giving a Rs.10 note and asking you to give Rs.3 to the one sitting next to you, and Rs. 4 to the one standing behind you, and keep the rest, that’s your share, to yourself. It is tough to deal with such people; you might need to adjust yourself to this situation.

There are some conductors who take less amount from you and don’t offer ticket. This saves you the trouble of hunting for change, but causes loss to the BMTC. So technically you are aiding a ‘con’ductor who wants to cheat the public transport organisation, so you too are at fault. Decide if you want to be a party!

Best way to avoid above situations is to keep the change handy. But where do you get change?

Good question. There are many ways.

  • Go to the nearest nationalised bank with big notes – 500/ 1000 multiplied by your requirement for the month, and ask for 10s or 20s depending upon your requirement. This is the easiest way to get change, without having to worry about torn notes or fake currency.
  • Check with the bus conductors who are about to wind up their work for the day. They have their entire day’s collection, and willing to part with it for a single heavy value currency. You will get good number of 10s and 20s and all coins. However keep a lookout for torn notes.
  • If looking for coins, go to the nearest temple and befriend the priests. They are the last resort for all coins in the area. They’ll also have good stock of 5s, 10s and 20s. Do check for torn notes however.
  • There are other sources like paan shops and kirani shops, where you might get a good change collection if you check in the afternoons or evenings.

Two more pieces of advice for a peaceful bus journey in Bengaluru:

Do learn the local language, which helps you blend in and connect with people easily. The more you fit in, more friends and good experiences you will gain. Here are some tips for you on how to learn Kannada.

Be polite in your body language and verbal language. This tones down the harsh vibes that are likely on your way and makes friends out of hostile characters. There are more gains than losses if you have a bus conductor as your wellwisher!

If you are a regular traveller, best thing to do is to go for monthly passes. Go for daily pass if you need to travel all day once in a while.

Wishing you a happy bus journey in Bangalore!


  1. Arun Tlk says:

    some conductors even told that RBI stopped issuing 1 rupee coin when asked for a change. BMTC should have a contact number displayed to report these.

  2. Deepa Mohan says:

    I agree with Arun, as my experience with bus conductors over many years has been that there are as many dishonest ones as honest ones. Every bus should have a complaint no displayed…and action should be taken. This will ensure some accountability.

  3. Sreejith G S says:

    I have shared a few tips for non bangaloreans to understand bus boards in this post:

  4. Amruta says:

    Even me is daily commuter to bmtc even I have not received my change many times, better solution would be keeping change with you while traveling in bus or keep asking conductor for your change before your stop comes

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