The Vijayawada Railway Station and Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS) here are teeming with passengers who are going to their hometowns to celebrate Sankranti.
The roads leading to railway and bus stations were choked with passengers mostly youngsters carrying backpacks and luggage on Tuesday. The benches and other seating places at the two busy stations were filled to their capacity forcing many passengers to stand till the arrival of their bus or train. People jostled for space in buses and trains heading to various destinations in the State.
Senior officials said the government railway police and personnel from Railway Protection Force (RPF) were deployed at the railway station to ensure that proper queue is maintained soon after the train is arrived at the platform. The trains that are heading towards coastal districts from Secunderabad via Vijayawada are packed to the brim.
The number of special trains and buses, in addition to the regular services, arranged by the authorities has turned out to be inadequate in view of heavy rush.Exorbitant charges
Cashing in on rising demand, private tour operators are collecting exorbitant charges, alleged passengers. For going to Visakhapatnam from Vijayawada in a Volvo bus, operators collect Rs.750 to Rs.800 during normal days. But they are now charging more than double on each ticket.
“It’s a difficult task to get ticket on January 13. We requested an agent to arrange tickets for my family and me to visit Visakhapatnam,” a marketing executive, K. Shravan Kumar, said.
But, according to Andhra Pradesh Private Bus Operators’ Association, the demand for tickets is less this time when compared to last year as most families are going to their hometowns in cars.
“Several families want to enjoy ride on the highways while going to their native places in cars and accordingly staying away from travelling in buses,” said Association former honorary president H.S.C. Bose.
Passengers complained that cab drivers, who are operating services from Vijayawada to Hyderabad, were collecting Rs.500 and more from each passenger as against Rs.400 charged during normal days.
“These drivers are acting according to their whims and fancies as there are no one to control them,” rued a private employee Rahul Paradesi.