The Federation of Karnataka State Private Transport Association on Monday called off its strike in Bengaluru following assurances by Transport Minister B Ramalinga Reddy to address some of their demands, The Indian Express reported.

It is estimated that around 7 lakh private vehicles stayed off the roads, adversely affecting commuters.

The federation, which comprises 32 private transport associations, wants private buses to be included under the Shakti scheme and provided with a financial package by the Congress government.

Launched in June, the Shakti scheme offers women and trans people free travel in non-premium government buses. The scheme is currently restricted to those who are domiciled in the state. Private transporters claim that the scheme is hurting their livelihood.

The federation has also sought permits for school buses and vans, withdrawal of lifetime tax on vehicles, greater regulation of app-based cab services and a ban on bike taxi services like Rapido, among other demands.

Responding to the call for the strike, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said that peaceful protests are allowed in a democracy but the demands raised should be reasonable, reported The Hindu.

“We introduced the Shakti scheme to benefit women,” he added. “To ask for compensation because women are not taking private buses is impractical.”

Arrangements to deal with strike

Some schools in Bengaluru decided to stay shut on Monday while others asked parents to arrange transportation for their children due to the strike.

The Bengaluru Traffic Police issued an advisory to the commuters about alternative routes and advised them to avoid KG Road, Seshadri Road, GT Road and roads around Freedom Park and the Majestic bus stand.

The transport minister had earlier said that his department has made ample arrangements to deal with the bandh.

The Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation added 4,000 additional bus routes within the city and to the Kempegowda International Airport in an attempt to help stranded passengers.