Monday, December 9, 2019

How to Travel In Bangalore - Get A BMTC Bus Pass

I've now spent more than an year using the public transport in Bangalore and made the best investment only this month. That is the BMTC bus pass.

Previously my commute was fully reliant on metro, but recently I joined MetaString foundation where I have to take the road to reach. There is a direct airport bus from where I stay to the office. The BMTC app gives a fair sense of where the buses are and how quickly I have to run to catch them. But giving 80 rupees in change every time I take a ticket was a pain. And unlike the metro, BMTC hasn't introduced smart cards yet. That's where the passes come in.

There are three classes of bus pass. The cheapest ones are 1050 including tax and lets you ply only in ordinary buses (non-AC). The next slab is 2363 which allows you to travel in volvo buses as well, but doesn't let you get on Vayu Vajra (airport bus). For the last category there is a 3570 rupees pass that lets you "yelli bekadru odaadubodu" (run around anywhere). But even that gold pass won't let you go in Bangalore Rounds bus (I have never seen a Bangalore Rounds bus). On the other hand, gold pass gives you a travel insurance which covers accidents.

I got my gold pass from Majestic (Kempegowda Bus station). But just getting the pass is not enough. You also have to get a BMTC id card. The ID card can be obtained on the other side of the bus pass issuing window of Majestic. You have to give a stamp size photo, your address, and phone number here which they enter sloppily in a register. The ID card has to match the pass and that's how they ensure that two people don't use the same pass.

The biggest advantage the bus pass provides me (even though it makes no economic sense for me who don't go to the airport every day) is the mobility. WIth the bus pass you can get on any bus and travel for any distance. This lets you make on-the-fly (pun intended) decisions about changing route/direction/bus. If there are better buses starting from the next stop, you can get on in any bus in the current stop, get down at the next stop, and switch to the better bus.

Additionally, the conductor can no longer make you feel guilty about not having change.

And above all, you save the environment. Less the Uber, less the traffic, less the pollution, faster the buses.

PS: I also got a new wirless keyboard. I'm now composing this blog post from a Vayu Vajra bus through my phone.

PPS: Also checkout "moovit" app which is a citizen app for travel information.

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