Visakhapatnam: With over 70 per cent of the RTC buses being deployed for election duty, passengers were in for a torrid time, waiting for hours at bus stations in Vizag, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and East Godavari districts. Most of the passengers had to opt for private vehicles to reach their destinations.
The APSRTC cancelled several buses on the Amalapuram, Kakinada and Rajahmundry routes for three days from Wednesday. It allocated around 2,000 buses to shift the poll staff and machinery for election in this zone.
Private bus operators utilised the opportunity to make quick money by hiking the ticket price up to 100 per cent as the people rushed to book their seats during this wedding season and summer vacation. Auto-rickshaws and taxis also increased fares to the maximum extent possible.
Citizens fear the worst, expecting the situation to prevail for another two days due to the polling.
People were seen waiting under the hot sun for private vehicles. There were only a few cabs available as cars and jeeps were also hired by the revenue department to shift the staff and security personnel on election duty.
Deputy transport commissioner S. Venkateswara Rao said, “Apart from 800 RTC buses, we have hired 125 school buses, 800 cars, 200 jeeps and 200 vans in Vizag alone. Similarly, vehicles were hired for shifting staff, EVMs and VVPAT machines in other districts also.”
P.V. Rama Rao, APSRTC executive director for Vizianagaram zone, said: “There was heavy demand for buses for election duties. However, we provided only 70 per cent of the fleet so that the public is not inconvenienced.”
The corporation however did not disturb the long-distance reservations for polling. Moreover, extra services were operated on busy routes....