Stage distance <2km: BMTC ends up charging higher ticket fare

Recently, there was an article in Citizen Matters by Ganga Madappa pointing to the fact the BMTC fares are higher than the distance indicates. I have been having a problem with this for some time now and given this opportunity, would like the share some information.

As I understand it, BMTC buses are considered to be ‘Stage Carriages’ and their fares are governed by notifications put out by the government under the act. The latest notification that I could find dated 03-11-2010 on Maximum Fares for Stage Carriages in the State of Karnataka can be seen here:

http://rto.kar.nic.in/Maxi%20rate%20for%20SC.pdf

The notification defines a stage as 2 km. How does fare pricing in a stage system work? Let us assume that a trip on a bus route is of length 24 km. This bus route would be divided into 12 stages. If a passenger boards and gets off the bus within one of these stages, then the minimum charge is due.

For example, if the passenger gets on the bus at a stop in stage 5 and gets off in a stop also within stage 5, minimum fare is due. If the passenger gets off in stage 6, the charge is for 2 stages and so on. If the same passenger gets off in Stage 10, the charge is for 6 stages.

The problem however is that BMTC has stages of varying length, some of which are much below 2 km.  This issue has been reported for some time now. There was an article in the Hindu in 2010 and a story on TV 9.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/article817575.ece

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZET4Ytilhs

I requested and got the following stage information for two Volvo routes (stages are the same for normal buses as well, which run on the same route). One is the route V335E which runs from Majestic to Kadugodi.  The other route is V500C which runs from Banashankari to ITPL. Clearly, most stages are of length below the mandated 2 km, some even as short as 1km. One or two stages exceed 2 kms in each of these routes.

This sort of a discrepancy is a big deal. Each extra stage or two charged is Rs 5 -10 per passenger per trip.  Secondly, since BMTC is the only option for public transport for a trip within the city (and certainly one of the most expensive ones in the country), it is an organisation with a virtual monopoly. The city grinds to a halt when there is a strike by BMTC. It is therefore important to have proper regulation of fares and compliance with those regulations. An appropriate comparison is the auto fares and taxi fares fixed by the government.  Do we like it if the auto or taxi meters spin a little faster?

Unfortunately, despite what seems like many report in the press and direct communication from customers, BMTC does not appear to be bothered.

Route V335E

Stage No.

Stage Begin

Stage End

Starting (km)

Length of stage(km)

1

Kempegowda Bus Station

Maharani’s College

0

2

2

Maharani’s College

Corporation

2

1.4

3

Corporation

Bangalore Club

3.4

2

4

Bangalore Club

B.Station/Mayohall

5.4

1.4

5

B.Station/Mayohall

Accounts office

6.8

2

6

Accounts office

Domlur

8.8

2

7

Domlur

NAL/Manipal Hospital

10.8

1.3

8

NAL/Manipal Hospital

HAL Main Gate

12.1

1.7

9

HAL Main Gate

HAL Kalyanamantapa

13.8

1.9

10

HAL Kalyanamantapa

Marthhalli

15.7

1.5

11

Marthahalli

Kundalahalli Gate

17.2

2

12

Kundalahalli Gate

A.E.C.S. Layout

19.2

1.1

13

A.E.C.S. Layout

Graphite India

20.3

2

14

Graphite India

Sri Sathya Sai Hospital

22.3

2.5

15

Sri Sathya Sai Hospital

I.T.P.L

24.8

1.4

16

I.T.P.L

Hope Farm

26.2

1.7

17

Hope Farm

Kadugodi Bus Station

27.9

1.6

Total Distance

29.5

Route V500C

Stage No.

Stage Begin

Stage End

Starting (km)

Length of stage(km)

1

Banashankari Bus Station

Ragigudda Bus Station

0

2.2

2

Ragigudda Bus Station

BTM Layout 16th Main Road

2.2

1.8

3

BTM Layout 16th Main Road

HSR Layout SI Apartments

4.0

2.0

4

HSR Layout SI Apartments

Depot 25

6.0

1.7

5

Depot 25

Agara

7.7

1.0

6

Agara

Jn of Sarjapura Road

8.7

1.6

7

Jn of Sarjapura Road

City Light Apartments

10.3

1.9

8

City Light Apartments

Kadibisanahalli

12.2

2.0

9

Kadibisanahalli

Jn of Marathahalli Bridge

14.2

2.0

101

Jn of Marathahalli Bridge

Kundalahalli Gate

16.2

1.5

11

Kundalahalli Gate

A.E.C.S. Layout

17.7

1.1

12

A.E.C.S. Layout

Graphite India

18.8

2.0

13

Graphite India

Sri Sathya Sai Hospital

20.8

2.5

14

Sri Sathya Sai Hospital

I.T.P.L

23.3

1.4

Total Distance

24.7

  1. Length of stage 10 is 2.3 km longer when traveling from Banashankari to ITPL because of additional distance traveled for a U-turn

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About Sanjay Vijayaraghavan 7 Articles
Sanjay is a mechanical engineer working for one of the city's MNC firms. He lives in BBMP ward 85 (Doddanekkundi).

11 Comments

  1. IS THERE ANY DISCOUNT FOR PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED PEOPLE
    IF THAN I AM NOT FROM KARNATAKA MY NATIVE IS BIHAR I HAVE ALL DOCUMENT BUT THAT IS FROM BIHAR GOVERNMENT SO PLEASE HELP ME FOR THIS
    I WANT TO MAKE BUS PASS FROM MADIWALA TO HERO DOMLUR BUS STOP PLEASE HELP ME FOR THIS.

  2. Glad to see such articles on BMTC – its one of the most inefficient and expensive public bus services anywhere. My personal experience is that I’ve been charged Rs.35 or Rs.40 on a Volvo for the same embarkation/disembarkation points between K.R.Puram and Akme Harmony stops(the fares might be higher now). I wisened up to this and made sure to ask the conductor “Rs.35 thaane?” each time I got my ticket…

  3. The fare structure of BMTC defies all common sense. Fare for first stage in ordinary services is Rs 5 and for 2 stages is Rs 12. If my stop is 2 stages away, it makes sense for one to get a one stage ticket and then get another and end up paying 2 rupees less. The racket on the Bellandur – Silk board stretch is also unbelievable. It costs me Rs 50 for this stretch for a distance of 7 kms (5 stages) in the vajra service which makes it costlier than taking cab or auto when there are 2 or more people traveling.
    For buses starting at silk board, the first stage is hardly 500 meters (silkboard terminus to fernhill apartments). Why can they not stages calculated based on starting point?

  4. Dear Vamshi, they charge the same rate regardless of whether ticket is from a machine or otherwise. In fact, for each route, there is a prescribed stage chart based on which the conductor is to issue tickets. That is what they follow.

  5. Dear Sanjay, I believe BMTC is leveraging on wrong distance printed on the ticket to charge people more by making use of the stage definitions. Here is what I have observed. Actual distance from Kundalahalli Gate bus stop to Majestic for a 335E route is approximately 17KM and the other way (Majestic to Kundalahalli Gate) is approximately 19KM. But the distance mentioned on the ticket on either ways is 24KM. This is around 40% more distance shown on ticket as compared to actual travelling distance. I believe they are somehow making use of these wrong distance to charge high. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you think I can be of some help for taking this issue further.

  6. The way the fare structure of BMTC is, beyond a certain number of stages, the rate is constant! Do not remember the exact number, but I suspect ITPL to Bhanshankari should qualify for that. In other words, if the bus continued on towards Kengeri and you had boarded at ITPL, the fare to Kengeri and to Bhanshankari might be the same 😀 So really long distances, use one bus to save money. Funny thing is that the fare structure actually is a disincentive to change buses because the charge for the first few stages is steep. You end up paying more if you travel 3+3 stages instead of 6 stages in one go. Rs 60 vs Rs 45 I think.

  7. Thanks Sanjay for the article. I carry monthly bus pass and have been less aware of this with my family travelling for long distances.Even ITPL to Silk board seems to cost a lot of money compared to ITPL to Bhanshankari.

  8. Does not surprise me Subbu. Some unscrupulous conductors there everywhere. However, have to say that it was a kind volvo conductor who tipped me off on this stage racket. My home is just after one of the ultra short 1 km stages. So in one direction from my home, we pay a lot of money.

  9. Sanjay, 500C charged me Rs.60 for Agara to Vydelhi Hospital last week, when I know that they charge the same to ITPL. When I asked why, since ITPL is likely to be a different stage, the conductor says no, it is the same stage as Vydelhi. They just lie through their teeth?

    I am going to keep a stage printout you have listed here and show it to the conductor the next time this happens.

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