HYDERABAD: For those trying to make it to their hometowns for Sankranti the chances of getting a train or bus ticket is slim. The gap in transport service is now being fulfilled by commercial taxis that normally drive for taxi aggregators. These taxis ferry passengers to other districts in Telangana and also to Andhra Pradesh. Heavy rush is being witnessed at bus stations and at important junctions across city, especially through out the night, for the last two days.
Venkatesh Goud drives for taxi aggregators on non-festival days but from Thursday night he has been camping at LB Nagar bus bay trying to cash in on the festival rush. He has done four round trips to Vijayawada and Vizag until Saturday noon and hopes to find more passengers to ferry until Monday morning. “I make approximately Rs 4,000 per trip, that is if I find passengers travelling back to Hyderabad. If I am returning empty handed then I make approximately Rs 2,500, said Goud. Speaking about his expense and how much he charges per passenger the driver said, “The diesel cost me Rs 2,000, the money for the toll is Rs 400 and Rs 350 for permit to the RTA, I factor in all these costs while taking in a passenger. I charge anywhere between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200 per passenger for the trip.”
The LB Nagar bus bay is a traffic sore and often leads to traffic jams that often last an hour. The commuter rush to Andhra Pradesh and the increased TSRTC bus frequency by one bus every 10 minutes has added to the traffic nightmare along the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway.
“The bus will take a long time, and its really uncomfortable which is why we are searching for a taxi. I cannot afford more than Rs 800 per person,” said P Usha, with her two children were haggling with taxi drivers for a mutually agreeable fare.
“People are not willing to pay more than Rs 800 and for the trip to be profitable for me I need to charge at least Rs 1,000. There are too many taxis parked in one location so there is an oversupply of taxis. I am not even getting booked by Ola or Uber apps,” said P Raju one of the unlucky drivers who has not managed to stirk a bargain with potential passengers.
The taxi fares go further up at night, “After 1 am it’s even possible to get Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500 per passenger, I did a trip to Vizag on Friday morning and was able to charge as much,” said P Sanith, another taxi driver.