Special buses will be operated from November 15 to January 20 next year
The Visakhapatnam Region of AP State Road Transport Corporation will operate special buses for the convenience of pilgrims visiting Sabarimala during the annual ‘Mandala puja mahotsavam’ and ‘Makara Villakku’ festival from November 15, 2012 to January 20, 2013.
Announcing this at a media conference on Wednesday, Executive Director (Vizianagaram Zone) of RTC K. Ramakrishna and Regional Manager Y. Jagadeesh Babu said the Visakhapatnam Region would operate 117 ‘Sabarimala Special’ buses this year as against 69 last year. The region had earned Rs.83 lakhs through the specials and earned the second place in the State last year.
The Visakhapatnam Region had introduced six-day ‘Satvara yatra’ and allowed the pilgrims to have darshan at Vijayawada, Kaanipakam, Bhavani, Palani, Yerumeli, Pamba and Sannidhanam in the up trip and in the down trip at Tirupati, Sri Kalahasti and Annavaram.
This package became a runway hit among the pilgrims due to the economy and speedy completion of pilgrimage.
The five-day ‘Sheegra yatra’ was being offered for the last three years providing Melmaruvatur, Erumeli and Pamba in the up trip and Sripuram, Kaanipakam, Tirupathi and Vijayawada in the down trip. They said that devotees could plan for 7, 9 or 10-day packages as per the timetable of the temple opening and closing days.
Mr. Ramakrishna said that RTC was operating around 700 buses to Sabarimala every year. The maximum number of buses was from Tirupathi followed by Visakhapatnam region. The Visakhapatnam Region had started operating specials to Sabarimala from 2004-05 with 59 buses. He said that while private bus operators could induce passengers with lower fares, they charge extra for payment of taxes in other States. The RTC fare was all inclusive.
The corporation was extending services of supervisors, security guards, electricians and mechanics to the needs of devotees in addition to the provision of two cooks.
Mr. Jagadeesh Babu said that new Super Luxury buses have been allotted to the region and they would be used for the Sabarimala specials.
Online bookings could be done through agents. Devotional films would be screened during the journey.
Deputy Chief Traffic Manager (rural) P. Jeevan Prasad spoke. Deputy Chief Traffic Manager (urban) A. Veeraiah Choudhary was present.
Earlier, the Executive Director inaugurated a new ticket counter for ‘Sabarimala specials’ at the Dwaraka Bus Complex (RTC Complex).