Ahead of Sankranti, private operators jack up bus fares

TIRUPATI/VISAKHAPATNAM: Cashing in on the Sankranti festival rush, private bus operators have jacked up the fares for buses plying on several routes across Andhra Pradesh as also to neighbouring Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Demands for train and bus tickets peaked during the festive season, as people are flocking to their hometowns to celebrate Sankranti, the harvest festival.

As per an estimate, around 42 lakh people commute from one location to another. While the APSRTC has decided not to collect extra fares in the 6,400 special buses in operation during the festival season, private bus operators have increased fares by nearly two to three times.

While the Hyderabad-Vijayawada sector is the busiest route during the season, Visakhapatnam, Rajahmundry, Tirupati and Nellore also act as major destinations. Private buses running between Hyderabad and Vijayawada, as also Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, which normally charge Rs 500-600 and Rs 1200-1300 respectively, are now charging between Rs 1000-1200 and Rs 1500-1800.

Deputy transport commissioner in Visakhapatnam, G.C. Rajaratnam, said, “We would start checking the buses from tonight. As per the guidelines, private bus operators should charge on par with the RTC fares or 10 to 15 per cent more. “If they charge exorbitantly, we will slap a fine of Rs 5,000 or more. In addition, roadworthiness would be checked. If the bus operator fails to show the fitness certificate, a fine of Rs 10,000 would be imposed on the vehicle. Carrying of cargo on passenger buses is banned,” he told Deccan Chronicle.

During the peak season, around 40 to 50 buses would run in different directions a day. Since most of the migrants settled in Visakhapatnam are from Srikakulam, Manyam and Vizianagaram districts, many buses would ply in those directions. Most of the super luxury and sleeper class buses ply to Hyderabad and Vijayawada.

Meanwhile, bus tickets between Hyderabad-Nellore and Hyderabad-Tirupati usually priced at Rs 850-1,600 and Rs 900-1,630 respectively are now sold at Rs 1,050-1,800 and Rs 1,600-2,590.

The same with Volvo and A/C sleeper bus fares between Bengaluru and Tirupati. A single ticket costs Rs 2,090 to Rs 2,790. The state-run RTC charges only Rs 562 to Rs 632 for Volvo and Rs 754 for AC Sleeper to the same destination.

The ticket rates for Super Luxury, Volvo and Sleeper class services from Vijayawada to Tirupati have also increased to Rs 750-900, Rs 1,310-1,600, and Rs 1,620, respectively. The rates for the same services in APSRTC are nearly 70 per cent less expensive.

“Private bus operators are taking undue advantage of the people’s urge to travel and meet their dear ones during the festive season,” lamented Ravilla Tharun, a native of Chittoor who works in Bengaluru.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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