With the authorities finally waking up to the waywardness of private bus operations, passengers are made to bear the brunt. After the RTA turned the heat on the bus operators and many buses were seized, the operators have begun to employ mini buses and vans for outstation trips that spell inconvenience and threat to life of the passengers.
These apart, new hassles are being faced by the unwary passengers. On Wednesday, passengers of the Hyderabad-bound bus by Kesineni Travels from Goa had a harrowing experience.
A sleeper bus left from Goa en route to Hyderabad at around 7pm. About 100 kilometres from Hyderabad, at Zaheerabad, the bus was stopped for checking. It was then found that this particular bus hadn’t paid taxes and wasn’t allowed to go further. Kesineni Travels then arranged for an APSRTC bus to drop the passengers to the City. This caused untold troubles to the passengers for no fault of them.
“We were stopped at 6am and all of us were sleeping. Suddenly, we were asked to alight. After about 45 minutes, the travels arranged for an APSRTC bus. The bus was a regular one and we had paid a lot of money for the sleeper bus. The bus driver did not give us a clear reason either. It was very frustrating,” recalled Sneha Rao, one of the passengers on the bus.
This isn’t the only incident. Several private bus operators from other cities were stopped at other check posts. This, say passengers, is very inconvenient. “I approached a travels to go from Goa to Hyderabad for a seat. They told me that they have stopped several buses due to police checks. It was hard for me to find other travels, that too at the last minute,” said D Ganesh, a student who had to search a lot to find a private bus operator to get him back to the City.
Despite repeated attempts to contact the authorities from Kesineni Travels, they remained unavailable for comment.
On the other hand, private bus operators are finding ways to beat the system. Several prominent bus operators, unable to board passengers on a regular bus, are hiring smaller buses so that they do not to lose out on revenue.
This can be seen at almost all major bus stops in the City. The safety of passengers goes for a toss because this escapes the view of authorities.
The operators are charging the same amount, but only the bus is smaller and more cramped. “My sister was travelling to Vijaywada on June 18. One bus operator, whose ticket cost as much as a non-AC bus, made her travel in a smaller bus. It was too late to opt for another agency,” said Nitin B, an IT