Passengers continue to suffer

Sankranti rush forces many travellers to ‘stand up’ or remain silent.

Vijayawada: The failure of the railways to increase the number of coaches, especially this festive season when the demand has increased considerably, has left passengers fuming.

“The railway officials are totally indifferent to the needs of the passengers, especially those traveling in general class coaches,” said Sabbineni Sambasiva Rao, an employee in pharmaceutical company in Hyderabad at the Vijayawada railway station. Sambasiva Rao was on his way to Ponnuru of Guntur district by the Machilipatnam express.

“I, and people like me, have no option but to travel standing all the way. I am a frequent traveller, and had stand all the way to Vizag several times, as there is no facility to make a reservation in a majority of the trains,” he said.

This being the peak season, hundreds of passengers can be seen travelling without getting a seat in general coaches, in almost every train.

“There are only three general coaches, including one for women, in every train. These three coaches have to cater to the needs of about 200 persons,” said a passenger.

“The SCR is focusing on running special trains, around 100 additional trains this Sankranti. The problem is that all trains have only three general coaches. The SCR has to increase the number of general coaches to solve our problems,” said M. Rama Rao, another passenger.

As per official estimates, at least another 100 trains are needed to clear the passenger rush. “This is because of a scarcity of coaches,” said SCR Mazdoor Union chief Ch. Shankar Rao.
The Indian Railways has introduced hundreds of trains during the last five years, but the production of coaches is not on par with the demand, he added.

Next: Cabbies make a fast buck

Cabbies make a fast buck

Vijayawada: With about 80 per cent of private travel operators confining their buses to sheds following intensified checks by the RTA, travel agencies letting cars on rent are making a killing.

It is boom time for travel agencies letting cars as about 80 per cent of private travel operators have been keeping their buses off the roads and the RTC failing to attract passengers. However, with the RTA officials focusing their attention on private travel buses, the cabbies (this includes the owners and drivers) are cashing in on the demand created by the void created in the public transport system.

There are around 400 cabs in the city and for many of them, only festival and marriage seasons bring in business. “We were forced to hire a cab to reach my village as a last resort, but the cabbie demanded fare equal to a round trip,” Harish a passenger at Benz Circle, said.

“Usually the charge would be around Rs 13 per km, now it’s around Rs 20 per km,” he pointed out. Nageswara Rao, a cab driver, said, there is huge demand for drivers too. “We are being paid around Rs 300 per day against the Rs 100 we got on regular days. If the RTC hiked the charges, why should we not do so too, as per the demand?” he asked.

( Source : dc )
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