Cracker of a ‘Diwali’ for private bus operators

by

The New Indian Express

By Sangamesh Menasinakai

27th October 2010 03:00 AM

  • File photo: ENS
    File photo: ENS

BANGALORE: Private bus operators in the city are making mega-bucks ahead of Diwali.

With the huge migrant population of Bangalore wanting to head home for the festival, which will fall on the start of a weekend, seats have been booked in all trains and buses.

Most trains running on November 4 are already full and the waiting lists on some trains have crossed 200.

With the Railways allowing booking of tickets 90 days before the date of journey, many had booked seats in the first week of August.

Those who have not managed a reservation yet, are waiting for the tatkal quota, which will be opened on November 2 at 8 am for the journey of November 4.

The Railways has not announced any extra coaches or special trains from Bangalore to clear the rush.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses are also booked well in advance. The chief manager (marketing and public relations) of KSRTC has announced that the corporation will arrange 1,900 additional buses to Shimoga, Davanagere, Tirupati, Mangalore, Kundapur, Sringeri, Horanadu, Kukke Subramanya, Dharmasthala and other places to cater to the Diwali rush.

These buses will ply from November 4 to 6.  

But touts have reportedly booked seats on government-owned buses and offering them to passengers at competitive rates but the KSRTC officials denied such bookings and allotment.

The private bus operators have also doubled the fares.

VRL, a leading bus operator, has raised its fare in sleeper coaches to Rs1,000 per seat on buses to Hubli. The normal charge on such buses is Rs 500.

“We will have to run extra buses with less occupancy or even empty from Hubli on November 3 to meet the demand in Bangalore, our management has decided to increase the fare,” said a staff of VRL at Gandhinagar. Even the manager with SRS, another operator, claimed their buses will return with less occupancy or empty on November 5. Durgamba Motors has increased its fares by Rs 250.This has landed passengers in trouble.

“Let them charge more for only the extra buses that they are plying,” said Shivakumar Hosaganiger, a software engineer from Hubli. Many operators said they have decided to charge more than the previous year due to rise in fuel prices and other operational costs, like toll tax.

“The department will fix the fares for buses that have been issued stage carriage permit, but not for vehicles that have contract carriage permit,” said Vijay Vikram, joint commissioner, state transport department.

“If this is the case, the government should make appropriate amendment to the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act to protect the passengers ,” said Mavemsa Prasad, a consumer activist.

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