With State-owned APSRTC buses staying off the road, commuters between Machilipatnam and Vijayawada were left at the mercy of private vehicle operators. The private vehicle operators are making a fast buck by jacking up the fares. The working class is the most affected with one-way tariff touching Rs.300 against usual Rs.50 to Rs.60 on any normal day.
The immediate effect of the absence of the State-run buses is skyrocketing of fares, which are being dictated by the private vehicle operators.
The auto-rickshaw and taxi owners are demanding fares based on at what time of the day one undertakes the journey.
According to taxi operators, a person is required to pay above Rs.100 in the morning as against the normal fare of Rs.50 to Rs 60 for a shared travel. “After 6 p.m., the fare from Vijayawada to Machilipatnam is going up to Rs.300”, said a few passengers at Autonagar bus-terminus in the city. A daily wage earner living in Vyyuru and working in Autonagar area of Vijayawada is forced to spend Rs.100 a day against a normal day spending of Rs.30. The private vehicle operators claim that they had to charge double the normal fares as there was a possibility of attack on them by the protesters during the 65-km journey. “Since policemen are deployed at a few strategic places along the National Highway, we are operating our vehicles without fear of being attacked by them,” said N. Jagadeesh of Machilipatnam.
The passengers are preferring the journey in the early morning expecting that there would be no disturbance from protests on the road.