Tirupati: Taxi operators are fleecing pilgrims in Tirumala and Papavinasanam. The taxi operators are collecting as much as Rs 120 per head whereas APSRTC charges Rs 43 for the same. But, the trouble of waiting for an RTC bus is forcing pilgrims to opt for taxis.
People say that the lack of RTC buses, TTD vehicles is the reason taxi operators are charging a lot in this route. But the RTC authorities say that occupancy in the route is still pending.
APSRTC is also providing a return ticket which can be used in any RTC bus while returning. Devotees say that the frequency of buses is less, which translates to an increase in the waiting period.
"We have been waiting for an RTC bus for 20 minutes. I have taken a return journey ticket. I thought of taking a jeep but, they are demanding hundreds for the 7 Km journey. What can I do other than wait for the bus," said, P. Pradeep Kumar a devotee from Kakinada.
"The jeep operators are demanding Rs 120 per head on a sharing basis. Though it is congested, I have paid the amount. I didn't have any other option but to pay for all family members which set me back by Rs 500 for four. The RTC should take steps to increase the frequency of buses," said N. Raja another devotee from Srikakulam.
RTC presently operates eight buses a day making 80 trips. But, the occupancy is sub-standard with only 60-70 per cent of the bus being occupied.
Mr Narasimha Reddy DM, RTC, Tirumala said, "There are practical problems in ascending the buses. We are cancelling two buses a week out of eight due to traffic. There is no parking slots and every one is parking their vehicle on the roads in that route. This is a big hurdle for us. I have already informed the higher authorities that we can operate more buses if parking is provided."