These bus passengers are facing many hardships due to the strike of TSRTC employees. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is already operating 1,377 special services from Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts and other areas to Vijayawada and other destinations in AP this season.
But these buses are not enough to meet the demand of passengers. Passengers, who are travelling in the private buses, are alleging that the bus operators are collecting between Rs1,500 and Rs 2,000 for each passenger from Hyderabad to Vijayawada. The original fare is Rs 400 for the super luxury bus. The private operators are not only collecting extra money due to huge demand for the buses but are also overloading the buses.
In some buses they are accommodating passengers by arranging plastic chairs. Heavy rush is a normal feature but this time since the TSRTC buses have gone off road, situation is worse, said M Raghuram, manager in a pharmaceutical company working at Hyderabad. He along with his wife and daughter came from Hyderabad to Vijayawada to celebrate the festival with his parents who live in Vijayawada.
Thousands of people are suffering and expressing ire on the private operators for charging exorbitant fares. Nearly 500 private buses are operated between Hyderabad and capital region of Vijayawada.
Now, more buses have been pressed into service which are less comfortable, but charges continue to be high. In some cases, the drivers and conductors of the private buses take money without issuing any ticket and allow passengers to board the bus. It is in such cases that the passengers compromise and travel sitting on plastic stools causing inconvenience to other passengers.
This has also come as boon for the AP Transport department which has been collecting fines from bus operators but however it has failed to check collection of high tariffs. The department conducted raids and booked 251 cases in two days.
The Transport Minister said that stringent action would be taken if bus owners violate norms. But all that failed to have any impact on the operators and the government too could not take any steps to curb the menace.
The private operators say that when APSRTC has gone in for surge charges why should they not do it. The APSRTC is operating 800 special services from Hyderabad to Vijayawada and other districts in the last three days and would continue the services till the end of Diwali season.