Hyderabad: A fresh controversy is brewing in the city following the state government’s proposal to privatise half of the TSRTC bus routes. And this time it is not from government officials or employees unions but from thousands of employees and students, who seem caught on a sticky wicket.
The decision has resulted in confusion over the future relevance and validity of bus passes. Thought not exactly up in arms, the crestfallen students are demanding reduction in the bus pass cost, particularly if their usage is invalidated by privately-run carriers.
During the strike time, even though officials had reassured that the passes would be valid across all routes, it was not the case. Passengers had to cough up money once they were on- board vehicles driven by temporary recruits.
“We ended up paying for tickets in most of the buses that had temporary drivers. As a matter of principle, Setwin buses never accept passes and now private drivers are emulating them,” rued Mr. Shekar Kumar, a consultancy employee and a regular commuter.
Although, a pass is valid for all TSRTC services, now their validity is questioned as roughly 5,100 services would be privatised, if the government goes ahead with its decision.
Regular commuter and college student Sneha D. said that "Every day, we are spending about Rs 150 to attend classes. Given the shortage of buses, and in order to be punctual, we end up taking other modes of travel, which are costly. Some students, who cannot afford the expense and depend on the RTC are going late to college.”
An TSRTC official said the passes would be accepted by private operators as they would be working under the TSRTC banner....