A Rs 100 crore subsidy announced by the state government for the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation in the last budget was to go some distance in reducing the Rs 350 crore incurred by the corporation.
But the reply to an RTI application, copy of which is with Deccan Chronicle, revealed that the BMTC has not received a single rupee of the subsidy amount which was announced in the budget six months ago. This has delayed BMTC’s plans to induct new buses announced in the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 budgets and 80 electric buses.
A top BMTC official, requesting anonymity, told Deccan Chronicle that the transport department had planned to get 3,000 buses. Of which, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation was to get 801 buses, the North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation 1,160 and the North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation 650. But since the government is yet to release funds, these projects have remained only on paper.
The officer said, “The BMTC with an existing ridership of 50 lakh passenger per day should meet the projected demand to maintain the current share of public transport. To maintain, improve and increase the public transport share of the city, the bus system needs to be upgraded and the fleet needs to be augmented significantly. The amount promised by the government is yet to be released and that makes it difficult for us to overcome the losses.”
Decreasing revenue and ridership has hit BMTC’s revenues over the years. Of the 3,000 buses announced for BMTC in the previous two budgets, 1,500 buses have begun operation. The remaining 1,500 were to be purchased from the funds the government was expected to release.
“The rise in diesel prices amidst falling revenue has been worrying our top officials, whose proposal for a fare hike was rejected by the government recently. The government should at least release the funds to help the corporation overcome the crisis,” the official said.