MANGALURU/HASSAN: The travel time between Mangaluru and Bengaluru in luxury buses like Volvo and Airavat are set to increase by at least 3 hours in a fortnight from now. The closure of the 13-km stretch of Shiradi Ghat which connects the coastal city with Bengaluru will be closed from January 20 and vehicles have to travel on any one of the seven alternative routes.
While the distance of the existing bus route is 351 km, it will go up to 490-500 km. While small vehicles with less than six wheels (Category A) will not be affected as they have to travel just 22 km more to reach Mangaluru from Bengaluru and vice-versa, heavy vehicles with more than six wheels (Category-B) will be hit hard.
Their journey will go up by a whopping 139 km which means a good three hours. This means the travel between the two cities will go up from 8 to 11 hours for those who opt for comfortable bus journey.
An official from the PWD (NH Division) said the Category B vehicles have to ply through Balebare Ghat. The long detour will also be taxing on passengers traveling between the two cities. Sources in KSRTC and private bus operators said that the bus fare will go up along with the distance. This means, the bus fare for Airavata will go up from Rs 800 to Rs 1,150 and AC sleeper from Rs 700 to Rs 900-950.
While the present journey between Mangaluru and Bengaluru is via Hassan, the various alternate routes are via Mysuru, Mudigere, Shivamogga and Udupi. The alternative route for category B vehicles are Bengaluru-Srirangapatna-Yelwal-Madikeri-Puttur-Mani-BC Road-Mangaluru.Bengaluru-Hassan-Belur-Mudigere-Kottigehara-Kalasa-Kuduremukha-Malaghat-Karkala-Udupi. Udupi, Kundapura, Siddapura, Hosaangadi,Balebare ghat, Mastikatte,Hosanagara, Ayanur, Shivamogga and Bengaluru; Udupi,Kundapura,Murudeshwar,Honnavara,Sagar, Shimogga, Nelamangala.
The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of elected representatives and senior officials chaired by PWD Minister HC Mahadevappa here on Saturday. Speaking to the reporters in Sakleshpur, H C Mahadevappa said that over 50 per cent of materials have been stocked and the contractor has been directed to take up the work on war-footing. The vehicular traffic will resume from June 1.