HYDERABAD: Inter-State and intra-city travel has now become a headache for commuters with the RTC employees strike entering its fifth day on Sunday. Many people, who were initially unaware of the protest wandered in the bus stations, pinning their hopes on the unscheduled services being offered by the RTC - as ointment to a body without a head.
A routine bus ride from one end of the city to the other, now has painfully stretched into an arduous task, as only a few auto drivers are agreeing to ply the distance. With a large number of the Corporation buses going off road, auto are now dangerously trying to fit into the shoes of buses, by accommodating as many passengers as possible.
An occasional Setwin trails along the road, with its spine pushed to point of breaking with the excess number of people. Some commuters, trying their best to find humour in this pathetic state said, even grains of sand will take time to trickle to the floor, owing to the jam-packed bus.
“Bus journey between the Erragadda and Uppal usually costs `15, but with the strike in effect, I had to pay `50 for an auto ride,” said Dattatreya, a student.
With major cab services declining services to the outskirts of the city, those who wish to have an uninterrupted journey are left to the whims and fancy of individual cab operators. People complain they are now paying fares more than half of what they previously used to. A brief visit to Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS) will show the trouble that people are facing due to the strike. People who were oblivious of the RTC employees protest, were in for rude shock when they reached MGBS.
“I have been waiting here since seven am for a bus to Bhadrachalam. But there is not one in sight,” said Masa. When asked if he knows that the employees are on strike, he replied in the negative.
Another passenger at MGBS, Anjaneyulu, sat at the bus station and pondered about his journey to Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, under such circumstances. “I reached MGBS from Chevella in an RTC bus. But, I did not know that the RTC were on strike from the past four days,” he said.
Even the enquiry booth at MGBS is not of any help to passengers, as the outsourcing employees are unaware of the schedule of limited RTC services. “We are only keeping track of the number of buses arriving at the station,” said an outsource employee from behind the enquiry counter.
Employees of RTC have been on strike from May 6, demanding an increase in their wages, on par with the rest of the government employees.