The poll season coinciding with the spree of marriages in the city has turned out to be a boon for the cab operators and travel agencies. Being flooded with orders from the political parties and families, these agencies are raking in the moolah, while the stiff hike in the charges is forcing the people to pay through the nose. May it be marriage parties, political leaders or government departments, all are being forced to allocate additional budget for hiring cabs owing to the heavy demand.
Cashing in on the situation, cab and travel operators are charging exorbitant fares and making hay. The rise in mercury level also has shot up the demand for air-conditioned cabs and customers are made to book the vehicles well in advance.
“A fortnight ago, when I approached a cab agency to hire an AC vehicle for my daughter’s engagement, they demanded Rs. 2,750 for six hours. Other travel agencies too made similar demands. Left with no choice, I had to pay,” says K. Srinivasa Rao, a resident of Pushpa Hotel Centre.
There are about 78 registered cab and travel agencies in the city operating different vehicles including maxi cabs, sedans and others. Ever since the election notification was issued, a majority of the travel agencies have been flooding with clients, especially from the political parties and government departments.Exorbitant fare
Acknowledging that there is a heavy demand for cabs, K. Venkateswara Rao of Pallavi Car Travels at Benz Circle says most operators have increased the fares exorbitantly. Generally, operators charge Rs. 2,000 per day and Rs. 200 as driver charges for an AC vehicle. But this season, customers are made to cough up Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 2,750 per day. Likewise, charges for Tata Indica vehicles have increased from Rs.1000 per day to Rs. 1,400, he says. Government departments are also hiring both AC and non-AC cabs for election works and transportation of poll officials.
Hence, the bookings are increasing, he adds.
Moreover, with summer holidays of schools and colleges on, there is additional demand from families which travel to different tourist spots and pilgrim centres, adds Kameswara Rao of Durga Travels, Satyanarayanapuram.