VISAKHAPATNAM: OMMI Neeraja, along with her four colleagues working in a shopping mall, after her office, was waiting at the Gurudwara Junction to get a bus home on Thursday night. With no bus services for almost an hour, she realised that many city RTC services have been deployed on Vijayawada route to clear the Krishna Pushkaram rush.
Hiring an auto-rickshaw was the only option. She got one finally but had to pay double the regular fare to reach home.
With large number of RTC buses plying to Vijayawada to clear Krishna Pushkaram rush, the commuters in the city are facing problems for dearth of city services. Cashing in on the situation, auto-rickshaws are fleecing the passengers by charging exorbitantly.
“The auto-rickshaw drivers usually charge Rs 10 before 10 pm from Gurudwara Junction to NAD junction and it is Rs 15 after 10.30 pm. With no city buses, the auto demanded Rs 25. And I had to pay as haggling did not yield much,” Ommi Neeraja said.
The RTC has deployed over 200 buses on Vijayawada routes for Pushkaram and majority of the buses are from the city depots.
Similarly, large number of RTC passengers who are going and coming back from duties are facing big troubles, thanks to the whims and fancies of autowallahs when it comes to charging.
From RTC complex to Maddilapalem, the share auto-rickshaws are charging Rs 10 now against the regular Rs 6, another commuter lamented.
Admitting that the city commuters are facing problems, APSRTC regional manager G Sudesh Kumar said: “Most of the diverted buses are the city services. Passengers are facing inconvenience, but diverting the buses was inevitable as a mega event is on in Vijayawada. However, directions have been given to the depot managers to extend existing city services timings,” he said.
However, the depot managers are saying that, it is not possible to extend the timings. “If it is for one day, we can request the driver and conductor to work overtime. But, this arrangement is to stay for 12 days. How can we run the buses without giving rest to the drivers and other staffers?,” an RTC depot manager asked.