BENGALURU: Another long weekend and many heading out of the city are once again struggling for tickets. With South Western Railway unable to run additional trains during weekends and festive seasons, private bus operators are having a free run. And the worst hit are the passengers.
Private bus operators are charging three times more than KSRTC for bus tickets this Ramzan weekend. In some cases, tickets are unavailable. For instance, KSRTC tickets to Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram for Friday have been sold out.
With Tamil Nadu continuing to stall agreement on private bus operations through its cities like Coimbatore and Salem, KSRTC has been left with little option.
South Western Railway is unable to tap the potential despite an increasing demand. Regular passengers complain that private bus lobby ensures that there are not enough trains on Fridays from Bengaluru to routes that have heavy demand.
For instance, Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru premium train (22657/22658) which was announced in 2014 with the intent of easing the rush between the two destinations is yet to be rolled out.
“There are only two trains from Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram on Fridays compared to three on Sundays. Most techies from Kerala leave Bengaluru on Fridays and not on Sundays,” said Ebin Varghese, a regular commuter between Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram.
South Western Railway claims that non-availability of rake in Bengaluru City Railway Station was the reason for delay in the proposed Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru premium train.
Express has been consistently highlighting the exorbitant fares charged by private bus operators during weekends but transport department continues to turn a blind eye.
State Transport Commissioner B Dayananda said: “I have not received any such complaints.”
According to private travel booking sites, maximum fare hike has been reported on routes to Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Belagavi. However, bus operators said the hike is because of the huge demand. “We are facing severe loss during non-peak season as well as during weekdays,” said a private bus operator.