Exorbitant KSRTC bus fare shocks jobless migrant workers returning home

South India
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People, who gathered at various bus terminals in Bengaluru on Saturday to board buses to their villages in Karnataka were in for a rude shock on Friday with Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) charging exorbitant fares to transport them.

 

A large number of people, who reached the Majestic Bus Terminal in the city complained that they were being charged double and triple for their trips. Majority of them are migrant workers, who were rendered jobless after the imposition of the lockdown.

"We were working as labourers in the city. From the past many weeks, we were unable to earn anything because of the lockdown. We are surviving without food. At this point of time, they have doubled and tripled the charges. This is very big harassment", a commuter was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.

“Earlier we used to pay Rs.500-600 from Bengaluru to Raichur. Now the KSRTC is charging us Rs.1.400. The hike in the fair is creating more problems to migrant workers," said a local.

KSRTC chief traffic manager Prabhakar Reddy said this was due to need by the corporation to abide by the social distancing norms. He said that the buses were now carrying only 30 commuters in each bus, according to the lockdown restrictions.

Times of India reported that migrant workers who reached Bannappa Park near Hudson Circle to board buses to their hometowns and villages were also shocked by the exorbitant increase in the bus charges.

Many who walked all the way with their families and belongings from places like Magadi Road and KR Puram were left disappointed as they didn’t have the money to board a bus. KSRTC, for instance, charged Rs 1,984 per passenger from Bengaluru to Bidar. Many workers who have been without a job since the lockdown began were forced to shell out hefty amounts, the TOI report said.

KSRTC officials said they transported 14,398 migrant workers in 518 buses across the state between April 24 and 30 for free. “We transported workers for free till Thursday as the district administration took those buses on contract and paid us the fare. Now, the state government is of the view that most stranded workers have been evacuated and decided to withdraw the free transport facility. Now we are giving buses to those who are coming in groups of 30. It will be an end-to-end service and no additional passengers will be allowed to board to ensure social distancing. They will have to pay for both trips since there won’t be passengers for the return journey,” a KSRTC official was quoted by TOI as saying.

With the government not extending any financial assistance, the transport corporation is struggling to pay salaries to its employees.

Image Credit: ANI

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