Partial lockdown sees rise in demand for bus tickets to NK

People leaving from Kempe Gowda bus stand in Bengaluru on Monday. K. MURALI KUMAR  

Barely a few hours after Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa announced a partial lockdown including travel restrictions to contain the spread of the COVID-19, people started thronging bus stands.

While the surge in passengers was nothing compared to the exodus during the national lockdown in 2020, demand for buses to various parts of northern parts of the State such as Haveri, Kalaburagi, Ballari, Raichur, and others increased considerably on Monday evening.

The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), which will not be operating during the 14-day partial lockdown, added 500 additional buses to destinations in north Karnataka on Monday evening. Passengers were seen coming to Majestic KSRTC bus stand, lugging heavy bags. Many were accompanied by their children. People hoping to leave the city were also seen waiting for buses at various points such Yeshwantpur, Goraguntepalya and Jalahalli Cross, among others.

Many said they had no option but to leave as they will not be able to work during the lockdown. “Instead of sitting idle for days, it is always better to go to our native place. My wife works as a maid and she has been asked to come only after the lockdown ends. Last year too, we went home during the lockdown and returned after a few months,” said a passenger heading to Haveri with his family.

Yelahanka resident Pranesh N., who works for a private firm, said: “I am currently working from home. After the State government made an announcement about extending the curfew even during weekdays, I decided to go to my village. I will return when COVID-19 cases drop.”

A senior official of the KSRTC said: “After the State government made an announcement imposing strict rules to curb the spread, footfall of passengers at terminal 2 in Majestic increased. Besides scheduled operations, we are running additional services considering the demand to various destinations in the northern part of the State. For other routes such as Mangaluru, Hassan, Shivamogga, we received moderate demand. We have enough buses in our fleet.”

Private operators were quick to cash in on the government’s decision, and started fleecing passengers. Those who tried booking tickets online got a rude shock when they saw the exorbitant rates. For instance, many operators were charging as much as ₹3,900 for a ticket to Belagavi, ₹1,999 from Benglauru to Hubballi, and up to ₹2,000 for a trip from Bengaluru to Mangaluru.

Divisional Railway Manager of Bengaluru division Ashok Kumar Verma said there was no unusual rush at KSR–Bengaluru or other stations in the city. “Trains within the State operated at 50%-60% occupancy. However, there is demand for certain destinations in northern parts such as Howrah, Danapur and Gorakhpur. This week, we are running additional five trains to these destinations.” The official said from the Bengaluru division, 100 odd trains, including 80 plus express trains, are operating.

12,000 buses to ply today

Deputy Chief Minister and Transport Minister Laxman Savadi announced that all three corporations (KSRTC, NEKRTC, and NWKRTC) will operate 12,000 buses on Tuesday for the benefit of the public. Buses will be operated from Bengaluru to various districts and inter-district services. The Minister advised people to travel before the curfew is imposed.

Travel guide

Can you take a flight from Kempegowda International Airport or travel by train?

Yes. Flight and trains will continue to operate. You can also use BMTC’s airport bus service, taxis, and autos. Tickets shall serve as the passes for movement of persons by taxis, cabs, and autorickshaws to board flight and trains.

Can I travel by Namma Metro?

The BMRCL will not operate Namma Metro services in the city for the period of the lockdown.

Can I travel within Karnataka or to other States in passenger vehicles? What if there is an emergency?

In such situations, you can hire taxis or autos. As per guidelines, inter-State or intra-State movement of passenger vehicles will be allowed only in case of emergency.

Will buses operate?

KSRTC and BMTC will not operate for 14 days. No movement of public or private buses is allowed.

What about students appearing for exams?

Admission tickets will be accepted as travel passes for taxis and autos.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 8:16:28 AM |

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