CHENNAI: With train tickets booked much ahead of Christmas, private bus operators here have hiked fares following increasing demand for bus tickets.
As only three days remain and this being a long weekend, several operators have doubled the fares, allege passengers, who are left with no option but to pay. Operators in Koyambedu are charging around Rs 600 for a non-AC seater ticket and around Rs 2,000 for an AC sleeper.
“I booked a non-AC semi-sleeper ticket from Chennai to Madurai for Rs 1,650 and my return ticket on Sunday for Rs 770. It is ridiculous to be fleeced like this during holidays when we are desperate to go home for two-three days. But we have no option, as train tickets ran out at least two months ago,” said Shaktipriya, a software developer.
Another engineer in the city cancelled his plan to go home this Christmas because of the exorbitant ticket fare.
“The ticket price goes up to Rs 2,000. Instead of paying so much to travel just for a day, I decided to stay in Chennai. It is the same story during every festival, making it difficult for passengers. There should be some system to control bus fares,” said Sabresh.
However, Tamil Nadu Omni Bus Owner Association claims that in the past one year, the fares have not been increased, and blames the non-member operators for charging more.
Speaking to Express, A Afzal, association president said there were around 110 private operators. Of these, 40 who belonged to the association did not increase the fares, and would not increase it even during Pongal holidays.
“We charge Rs 1.50 a km for a non-AC bus and between Rs 2.25 and Rs 2.50 for AC buses. But non-members charge exorbitant prices that gives a bad name to all the operators. We have informed the police about it,” he said. The last minute customers are ready to pay much more and after the journey, they crib, he added.
“But if any complaint of fare hike is filed against operators of the association, we make sure the bus doesn’t leave till the excess money is refunded,” he said. Afzal said customers can call to 9962094429 to complain about excess fare collection.