After 2-way fare shocker, CM orders only one-way fare to be collected
There was bedlam at the KSRTC bus depot at Majestic on Saturday as hundreds of people, including daily wagers, students and professionals, gathered there following the state government’s nod for inter-district bus transport within Karnataka.
Initially, passengers were told they would have to pay a two-way fare, which came to more than Rs 1,000 for travel to the northern districts of the state.
The tickets had been priced on the basis of a round trip and toll rates. Thus, the fare for Bellary was Rs.884, for Belagavi Rs.1,478, for Chitradurga Rs.602, for Gadag Rs.1, 040, and for Bidar Rs.1,984.
After receiving feedback on the issue, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa instructed that only a one-way fare should be collected from them. But even this was a tall order for many labourers, given that they have been jobless since the lockdown.
A member of one group going to Chithapur in Kalaburagi district, around 580 km from Bengaluru, said, “We are daily wagers earning around Rs 400 a day. We haven’t had work for the last one month and now have to pay Rs 640 per person to go home.”
No social distancing
Several passengers were distressed at the total absence of social distancing. “The government could have handled the situation better,” said a private firm employee.
Education Minister and Covid-19 spokesperson Suresh Kumar said the confusion arose because only 30 people could travel in a bus and the total fare was to be shared by them.
“Now, all of them are being sent to their destinations on a single-way fare. The rest will be borne by the labour department,” Kumar said.
KSRTC Divisional Control Manager Inayat Bagban said Saturday’s incident was unforeseen. “We will resume the service at a bigger place on Sunday, around 9 am,” he said.
KSRTC Chief Traffic Controller Prabakar Reddy said, “Our staff are doing their best to ensure social distancing among the passengers. The situation is almost under control because we have pulled most of our employees from other depots to manage the situation here. At this point, we are planning to operate 110 buses across Karnataka, and more will be added based on demand.”
There are reportedly over 5,000 labourers in Bengaluru city from different parts of the state. As a precautionary measure, passengers are to be thermally screened before boarding the buses and anyone going to another district must stay in institutional quarantine.