Dasara festival is just a week away but the usual hustle and bustle at the ticket booking counters, including those at the railway counters, is missing as most people are apprehensive about travelling to their hometowns due to the ongoing Samaikyandhra agitations.
With over 12,000 APSRTC buses confining to their respective depots in Seemandhra region due to continuing employees strike, commuters are now forced to depend on trains, private buses and personal transport. But following Sunday’s power supply interruptions and cancellation of few trains, passengers are worried about travelling to their respective hometowns for the festival. “The situation in Seemandhra is very bad and it is risky to travel. RTC buses are not running, trains are being cancelled and there is no guarantee of private buses. I would rather cancel my trip and stay in the capital,” says J.S.T Sayi, a senior citizen from S.R.Nagar.
Generally, RTC operates about 3,500 Dasara special buses for the convenience of passengers travelling to Telangana, Coastal and Rayalaseema regions from Hyderabad and over 50,000 passengers travel in these buses. But this year, there is no such provision, except for those travelling in Telangana. South Central Railway (SCR) has announced that over 140 special trains between Hyderabad and Seemandhra this month, when compared to 93 special trains operated last year. Railway authorities point to a 15 per cent drop in passenger traffic on Sunday following the disturbances in coastal areas.
Private bus operators too are doubtful about ticket sales. “We have opened bookings for 5,000 tickets this festive season but till date only 324 tickets have been booked. Of these, majority have been booked for October 11,” says H.S.C Bose, honorary president of A.P. Private Bus Operators’ Association.
“Compared to last year, there is a poor response. People are not willing to travel more so because even if they travel all the way to their respective hometowns, local people there are in no mood to celebrate. All these factors are making passengers to think twice before booking tickets”, he explains.