Open Journal Systems

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

Deepak Baindur, Pooja Rao

Article ID: 69
Vol 1, Issue 1, 2016, Article identifier:

VIEWS - 400 (Abstract) 241 (PDF)


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

Full Text:


Included Database


Gómez-Ibáñez J A and Meyer J R, 1993, The international experience with transport privatization, in Going Private, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Pucher J, Korattyswaropam N, Mittal N, et al. 2005, Urban transport crisis in India. Transport Policy, vol.12(3): 185–198.

Badami M, Tiwari G and Mohan D, 2004, Access and mobility for the urban poor in India: bridging the gap bet-ween policy and needs. Paper Presentation at the Forum on Urban Infrastructure and Public Service Delivery for the Urban Poor Organized by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C. and National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, viewed July 11, 2015.

Census of India: Provisional Population Totals, 2011, viewed July 8, 2015,

Singh V, Puvvada V, PC L, et al. 2008, Study on Traffic and Transportation Policies and Strategies in Urban Areas in India, viewed December 1, 2015,

UNDP: Subject Module on Financing, Fare Fixation, & Cost Benefit Analyses, 2012, viewed July 8, 2015,

Litman T, 2005, Guidance for incorporating distributional impacts in transportation planning, in Evaluating Transportation Equity, Victoria Policy Transport Institute, Canada.

Altshuler A, 1997, The Urban Transportation System: Politics and Policy Innovation, The MIT Press, Cambridge.

Friedman L S, 2002, The Microeconomics of Public Policy Analysis, Princeton University Press, UK.

Deakin E and Harvey G, 1996, Transportation pricing strategies for California in An Assessment of Congestion, Emissions, Energy and Equity Impacts, Final Report, California Environmental Protection Policy, California.

Richardson H W and Chang-Hee C B, 1998, The equity impacts of road congestion pricing, in Road Pricing, Traffic Congestion and the Environment: Issues of Efficiency and Social Feasibility, Edward Algar Pub, Northampton, UK: 247–262.

Deakin E, FerrelL C, Mason J, et al. 2002, Policies and practices for cost-effective transit investments: recent experiences in the United States. Transportation Re-search Record, vol.1799: 1–9.

Wachs M, 2003, Improving efficiency in transit finance, in Brookings, Brookings Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Watkins T M, 1984, The Equity Impacts of Time-of-day Transit Pricing, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

Mohan L, 1979, Evaluation of Ridership, Revenue and Equity Implications of Distance-based Fares for Transit Systems, State University of Albany, New York, USA.

Cervero R B, Wachs M, Berlin R, et al. 1980, Efficiency and equity implications of alternative transit fare policies, Urban Mass Transportation Administration, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation, viewed December 3, 2015,

Transit Cooperative Research Program, 2004, Fare policies, structures and technologies: update, viewed July 8, 2015,

Government of India: Ministry of Home Affairs, 2011, B-28 ‘Other Workers’ by distance from residence to place of work and mode of travel to place of work — 2011, viewed March 31, 2015,

Urban Mass Transit Company Limited, 2011, Bangalore mobility indicators 2010–11: final report, viewed July 8, 2015,

Wilbur Smith Associates, 2009, Bangalore mobility indicators 2008: draft final report, viewed March 5, 2015,

KUIDFC, 2007, Comprehensive traffic and transportation plan for Bangalore, viewed July 8, 2015,

Society for Participatory Research in Asia, 2014, Bengaluru Study Report 2014: government led exclusion of the urban poor — a greater contributor through a lesser recipient, viewed October 13, 2014,

(400 Abstract Views, 241 PDF Downloads)


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Deepak Baindur, Pooja Rao

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.