The metro commuters in Bengaluru are already frustrated over the compulsion of having to maintain a minimum balance of Rs.50 in their smart cards. And now the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) has come up with another rule, yet another blow for the Namma Metro travelers.
According to the new rule, the passengers traveling beyond their destination authorized by his or her ticket will have to pay Rs.50 fine.
BMRCL To Come Up With A Circular Soon
According to the executive director (operation and maintenance), BMRCL, AS Shankar, “We will shortly come up with a circular on penalizing passengers traveling beyond the authorized distance. This is not something new. Several Metro corporations across the country impose such a penalty. It is also in the Metro Act.”
The new rule of keeping Rs.50 minimum balance in the smart card applies to the half of the 4 lakh Namma metro commuters. However, the penalty of Rs.50 for excess travel is directed at token users who are the other half metro commuters.
According to the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance) Act of 2002, the transport utility authority can levy a penalty of Rs.50 on those commuters traveling without proper ticket or pass. It is also applicable to those who travel beyond the authorized distance.
In the case, the passenger does not accept to pay the excess fare, the Bengaluru metro corporation has the authority to drag the passenger to court. If found guilty, the passenger will have to serve imprisonment of one month.
Rule Is For The Benefit Of Commuters
According to Shankar, this rule is for the benefit of commuters and will ensure hassle-free travel for all of them. He further added, ”The exit gate used to be blocked as there were several complaints of passengers traveling beyond their ticket/card permitted. That problem has reduced ever since we introduced the Rs. 50 minimum balance rule. We have also received positive feedback from customers.”
According to Bengaluru metro passengers the imposition of Rs.50 minimum balance and the penalty for over-traveling is undemocratic and anti-poor. There are a few who are also demanding a discount on the minimum balance of Rs.50 for the metro smart card.
One of the residents Kavya Achuth from Yelachenahalli said that the rule by Bengaluru metro has also brought up some problems for the short distance travelers. She had Rs.35 in her smart card and wanted just a recharge of Rs.15 but could not do so as the minimum recharge comes at Rs.50. According to Kavya, the entire rule is anti-poor.
Vice-President of Bangalore Metro Employees Union, Surya Narayana Murthy said that the station crew has to face the wrath of the commuters. He said, “Passengers are taking the station crew to task for the arbitrary rule introduced by the management. As crores of money come to BMRCL in the form of minimum balance, the utility should offer further discounts to smart card holders.”