Equity in public transport — a case of Bangalore’s city bus transport

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Deepak Baindur, Pooja Rao


In most urban areas, buses are the most heavily used form of public transportation[1] and more so in Indian cities where buses make up for over 90% of public transport ridership[2]. In the selected Indian metro cities, where formal bus based PT systems are operated by public agencies, they are over-reliant on state support to sustain operations as fare box collections are inadequate in spite of having relatively high ridership. The main challenge for all this is to achieve long term financial sustainability of public transport systems while providing good quality and affordable bus services.
This paper investigates internal and external factors that led to the steep and recurrent fare increases in the Bangalore city bus services in the period from 2012–2014 which are operated by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation. In order to estimate the impact of the recent bus fare increases that have had on the economically weaker sections of the society dependent on these services, the paper presents the results of a random sampling survey study carried out in a central locality in the city that has a large slum area.
The key findings throw light on the various ways in which the low income bus users have adapted to reduce their travel costs through changes in travel behavior, travel pattern and modal shifts. The cost of the behavioral changes through lost opportunities and the cost of the modal shifts of the persons earlier favoring public transportation draw attention to the significance of public transport fare policies. Furthermore, the management and operations of the BMTC agency show scope for improvement which can translate into better revenue generation and consequent reduction in fares.


public transport; bus fares; travel behavior; affordability

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/JSUPP.2016.01.002


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