In Visakhapatnam district alone, the corporation suffered a loss of Rs.48 crore
The 60-day strike by Road Transport Corporation (RTC) employees as part of the Samaikyandhra agitation in Seemandhra has dealt a severe blow to the corporation. In Visakhapatnam district alone, the corporation suffered a loss of Rs.48 crore at the rate of Rs.80 lakh a day.
The buses are back on the roads from Saturday. But, with the city commuters getting used to autorickshaws and private transport and long distance passengers switching their loyalties to private buses, the problems of the corporation seem to be far from over.
The Dwaraka Bus Station (DBS) Complex, which bustles with passengers even during normal days, wore a deserted look after the Dasara vacation on Wednesday. The scene was the same on Tuesday also as they were hardly any takers for the buses. The Visakhapatnam Region of RTC operates special buses to various destinations, both within and outside the state, during the Dasara holidays. The RTC was literally cashing in on the ‘indifference’ of the Railway authorities in operating special trains from Visakhapatnam to various destinations like Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru during the holiday season. The non-availability of berths on long-distance trains and the reliability of RTC buses over their private counterparts made RTC earn the patronage of passengers.
This year the 60-day strike by RTC has failed to wake up the Railways from their sleep and they hardly ran any special train to cater to the demand from Visakhapatnam. The only alternative left for passengers from the city was to look for private bus operators, who ran overtime and made good use of the god-sent opportunity. “Last year we operated 200 ‘Bhavani specials’ from the region to Vijayawada for the benefit of devotees visiting Sri Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada during the Dasara festival. The buses were mostly operated from Anakapalle and Narsipatnam besides the city. During the last couple of days we were able to operate 50 ‘Bhavani specials’ during the last couple of days, RTC Regional Manager Y. Jagadeesh Babu told The Hindu. “This apart, we have lost out on the 300 Dasara specials, we had operated to various destinations during the Dasara vacation last year. We hope to get some revenue on passengers returning after the vacation this year,” he said while admitting that passengers have shifted to other modes of transport during the long strike and it would take some time for the corporation to earn back their loyalties.