VIJAYAWADA: The increased travel expenditure is putting extra financial burden on homebound people this Dasara festival as private travel operators are charging exorbitant rates.
The Coronavirus pandemic dampened Dasara festivities last year and now people are all set to celebrate Dasara due to huge fall in Covid-19 infections and people working in other places and states are returning to their native places to celebrate the festival. There is huge demand for bus tickets on October 12, 13 and 14 for Dasara and on October 17 for return journeys. The APSRTC is operating 4,000 buses to cater to the people this Dasara season.
Many people belonging to Andhra Pradesh work in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and in other states. Further, the locals of north Andhra districts also work in Vijayawada, Guntur and other cities and these populations return to their native places during major festivals Sankranti, Ugadi and Dasara. The commuters are deploring the doubling and tripling of fares by private bus operators this season. Commuters B. Raju and D. Raghu said private bus operators stopped online sale of bus tickets and started a manual system under which they were collecting double and triple fares according to the demand, calling it a flexi-fare system. They further deplored that this robbing turned a bane to them to return native places and put a huge extra financial burden during Dasara.
The transport department officials stated that the department conducted a meeting with private transport operators and instructed them not to charge extra fares. The officials warned of stern actions against violators and said checks would be conducted.
Meanwhile, APSRTC which was barred from running special buses for the festival due to Corona is now operating 4,000 special buses between October 8 and 18 to ensure hassle-free journey for passengers during Dasara. Buses will be operated to and from Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. APSRTC vice-chairman and managing director Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao said 1,383 of the 4,000 buses were planned from Hyderabad, 277 from Bangalore, 97 from Chennai and remaining 2,243 buses for clearance of traffic within the state.
Dwaraka Tirumala Rao explained that 1,800 buses were operative from October 8 to 14, and remaining 2,200 between October 15 to 18. He said 50 per cent extra would be collected on fares for Dasara special buses.
Responding to the complaints about APSRTC collecting higher fares during festivals, he defended that these special buses were run with almost no passengers on one way and even with one-and-half times fare, APSRTC still incurred losses. He appealed to the people to understand the problem and encourage APSRTC bus services this Dasara season.
The APSRTC is operating 1,800 buses during pre-Dasara time and 2,200 bus services in post-Dasara time with the highest number of total 830 bus services operating from Krishna district alone....