The holiday season is here and people have already started planning for their Diwali break early next month…
Barring the lucky few who had their bookings done in advance, most people are left to grapple with unreserved tickets and a steep rise in inter-state bus transport fares. The lack of other options for travel within the State add to the misery.
According to reports, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses will implement a seasonal fare hike of 10% on all its services for a period of 20 days starting from November 1.
Passengers who have booked their tickets in advance will have to pay the difference amount at the time of boarding.
Prakash Jadav, an IT-professional who struggled from one online bus booking service to another found that within a couple of days, the ticket fares from Pune to Nagpur rose from around Rs 3500 to somewhere around Rs 4000, making him rethink his plans to visit his home town for Diwali.
“We have to wait for last minute confirmations from the HR for our leave approvals. Since everyone seeks a holiday during this period, you never know if you are the lucky one to get it cleared. Hence, booking tickets at the last moment becomes an expensive affair.
Capitalising on the rush and the demand, it is obvious that the service providers will charge much more, but how fair is it to charge double or even more than rail tickets!” Prakash quips.
“I believe holidays are the worst time to travel, be it Domestic or International” says Raj Mathur, a freelance physiotherapist.
“Everything costs a bomb, be it travel expenses, hotel bookings and even food. Moreover, every place is so crowded that it just ruins the purpose of having a peaceful time away from a hectic daily life.
Honestly, I believe that if someone wants to travel inter-state with a family of four, travelling by a private diesel vehicle is always a more sensible and economical idea.
One can save a lot from the travel expenses and can have a gala time with the family,” adds Mathur.
“The state transport service providers do increase their fares during this season but in a regulated manner and uniform across all routes.
When it comes to the private service providers there is no regulation and they end up looting passengers knowing that every one wants to be with their family during Diwali.
They play with the sentiments of people” says a city-based marketer and home chef, Praveen Gupta.
“It is so unfair that seeing a rise in demand, they keep increasing their fares with every passing day. When I saw the ticket fare for my home town a month ago, it costed half the price of what it is today and I am sure within the next few days this will just sky-rocket,” complains Gupta.
A city based ticketing agent however thinks that the price surge during festivals are inevitable owing to the increase demands and lack of enough service providers.
“It often happens that the passengers are more than the available seats due to which, tickets are then provided on a first come first serve basis.
Hence, like every business, private and government buses hike their charges as this is the time to recover the loses they might have incurred throughout the year.
In fact, people should be prepared to see another increase in the fares in the first week of November,” Gupta adds.
#All views expressed are those of the respondent’s and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to them.
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