VISAKHAPATNAM: Bus fares this festive season have sky-rocketed in the Port City and are currently competing with air fares.
The normal air fare on the Visakhapatnam - Hyderabad route is around `3,200. But now, a private Volvo bus ticket on this route just ahead of Sankranti is going to cost around `3,500 as against the regular price of about `900.
Passengers who are eager to spend the festive season with relatives in their native places complain that bus operators are charging three times the normal fare.
The normal charge for a non-AC bus plying between Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad would not be more than `600. But the fare now hovers around `1,200.
The price of a ticket in a multi-axle semi-sleeper bus, which was about `900, has crossed `2,000 while the fare for Volvo sleeper buses, which was `1,100, has touched `3,000.
On the Visakhapatnam - Vijayawada route, the bus operators are charging around `900, while the normal charge is `450.
“To charge `3,000 for a trip to Hyderabad on a bus is outrageous. Why should we prefer a bone-breaking bumpy journey when we can get a flight at the same rate? It is not fair for the bus operators to extort passengers taking advantage of the situation,” said N Mahendra, a teacher. Many passengers blame the situation on the inefficiency of RTC authorities to operate more buses for the season.
Denying the charges, APSRTC Visakhapatnam regional manager Y Jagadeesh Babu said they have been allotting enough buses for the season.
“We have decided to run more buses from Jan 8 to Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Amalapuram, Kakinada and Vijayawada,” he added.