With the increased demand for APSRTC buses this festival season and non-availability of seats in trains and private bus operators cutting down their services due to the crackdown by the transport department, the APSRTC is operating additional buses to clear the festival rush.
It has transported over 12 lakh passengers in the last three-four days during this Sankranti festival season, RTC said in a statement on Monday.
The RTC said it had operated 9,251 extra buses so far to clear the extra rush of passengers and on Monday 526 special buses were pressed into service to various destinations from Hyderabad, mostly towards Vijayawada and Vizag regions. Another 249 buses will be operated on Tuesday.
According to executive director Koteswara Rao, the number of additional buses operated by the RTC are more than the private buses seized by the RTA in the past couple of days. He said that as on Monday, there were 24,017 seats available and 41,344 seats are available for Tuesday. Given that most people are celebrating Sankranthi on January 15, it is being expected that the number of seats in the buses would be filled.
‘’Passengers need not take the trouble of going all the way to the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) in Gowliguda from different parts of the city. We have set up boarding points at BHEL, Lingampalli, Madinaguda, KPHB, Jeedimetla, ECIL, Telephone Bhavan, LB Nagar and Uppal. It will not only save money and time for them, but also enable the RTC to coordinate better its buses and avoid traffic snarls in the heart of the city,’’ a higher official of the RTC explained.
Officials are also making necessary arrangements for additional buses for catering to the needs of the people returning back to Hyderabad from their respective native places. ‘’Starting Tuesday, the return buses would be operated and we expect the rush to be at peak from Wednesday onwards,’’ he added.
In the past, people used to fancy private buses, who in turn used to make fast buck, but it all changed after the tragic Palem bus accident. With transport department acting tough against the private bus operators and increasing its inspections of the vehicles, it is learnt that more than 50 per cent of the private buses in the city have choose not to operate till things cool off.
The situation also gives the RTC an excellent opportunity to prove itself that it is the best when it comes to passenger safety, punctuality and affordability.
Safety is the foremost reason for a large number of people increasingly preferring APSRTC buses to that of private buses, the RTC officials say and add that accountability and fares are the other reasons for people preferring RTC buses over the private buses.