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Taking commuters for a ‘royal’ ride

S. Sandeep Kumar
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Fares have been doubled in private buses

This Sankranti festive season, travelling to your hometown will cost you a bomb. With tickets for most of the trains and RTC regular buses heading to coastal districts almost sold out for Thursday, Friday and Saturday, many private bus operators in the city are charging nearly double the regular fares.

APSRTC, which is planning to operate over 4,000 special buses from Wednesday, is also set to charge 50 per cent extra fare than the regular ticket for travelling in these buses.

Cashing in on the demand, many private operators are charging Rs.1,400 per head against the regular fare of Rs. 550 from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam in a non-AC bus. Similarly, those willing to travel in AC buses in the same route will have to shell out Rs. 2,200 per head against Rs. 900 charged regularly.

Likewise, those travelling to Vijayawada from the capital too have to dig deep into their pockets to reach their destination. Generally, Rs.700 is charged for travelling in an AC bus, but operators are now demanding about Rs.1,400 and for those travelling in non-AC buses, the fares have been increased from Rs. 300 to Rs.700. With Sankranti scheduled to be celebrated on Monday, there is an extended holiday. Most of the tickets in trains and 1,000 regular RTC buses from Friday have been sold out already. While second class ticket booking in Godavari, Visakha, Falaknuma, Machilipatnam, Narsapur and express trains is almost closed for Friday, the waiting list for the same trains on Saturday and Sunday stretches to 350 and above. South Central Railway announced few special trains, but these trains hardly meet the passenger demand. Majority of the tickets for regular RTC buses operating towards Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Ongole, Nellore and Tirupati and other regions are already sold out, said a senior RTC official. Though special buses would be operated, passengers will have to bear the pinch of 50 per cent extra charge. For instance, those travelling to Vijayawada in an RTC special non air-conditioned bus will have to pay nearly Rs. 390 per head against the Rs. 265 regular fare.



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