Passengers bear the brunt of RTA action
It has been a nightmarish experience for passengers for the past several days, thanks to the Transport Department’s drive against private buses.
Officials have been seizing buses, which operate without valid documents, resulting in passengers getting stranded at various places. With no alternative arrangements being put in place, passengers are left to fend for themselves even during late-night hours.
Recently, passengers were stranded till midnight when a bus owned by National Travels, an operator from the neighbouring State, was seized by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) officials near Penugonda in Anantapur district. The bus was on its way to Hyderabad from Bangalore. Similar was the case with two other private buses.
After the passengers were told to disembark without an alternative arrangement being provided, they sat on a dharna on the road. Soon, a bus was hired to drop them at the Anantapur bus stand. Later, they boarded an RTC bus to continue the journey.
Meanwhile, RTA officials said they were only acting against private buses that were operating without valid permit. Such buses, they added, were seized at the originating points. “However, when buses from other States without valid permit cross the State border, we take action at the nearest check-post,” an official said.
According to rules, private bus operators are not supposed to sell tickets to passengers either online or offline. Though officials claim to have served notices on websites that facilitate online booking for individual passengers, many such sites continue to exist.
“I had purchased a ticket through redbus.com from Bangalore for Hyderabad on January 26. If private bus operators can’t sell tickets to individual passengers, why can’t they put up notice boards at the operator’s office?” asked Cherian. K.K, a passenger who was stranded at Penugonda the other night.