PUNE: As the examinations are over and summer vacations have started, it is that time of the year when people go for holidays. Taking advantage of this, private bus operators have increased fares by 30 to 50 per cent for long distance journeys. The increase in fare is not only in Maharashtra but outside the State as well.
There are a large number of people from Beed, Latur, Nagpur, Osmanabad, Aurangabad, Nashik, Amravati and Jalgaon, who are residing in Pune for jobs, education, etc. Many families are going to their hometown after their children’s schools are over. Many of them had tried hard to book train tickets but couldn’t get a reservation. The only option left with them is private bus operators as the State Transport body does not ply buses out of Maharashtra, except to Goa.
Considering the increased demand, private bus operators have hiked fares by 30-50 per cent per passenger. On Saturdays and Sundays, bus operators even charge twice the regular fare.
Vinod Sagre, Deputy Regional Transport Officer, said, “We are helpless because we do not have any policy to control how much they charge.” Maximum fare hikes have been reported on routes to Nagpur, Amravati, Latur, Nanded, Jalgaon within the State and to Bengaluru, Goa and Indore in neighbouring states. The fare for an adult travelling to Nagpur from Pune, for the next weekend, was quoted at around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 as against Rs 1,000, which is charged during the lean season. The situation on the Pune-Goa route is similar. Fares of AC sleeper buses plying on the Pune-Goa route have been hiked to around Rs 1,500-1,600 as against the regular ticket rate of Rs 900-1,000. Besides, fares for buses on the Pune-Amravati route, which are usually close to Rs 1,000, have also touched Rs 1,500-1,800.
Balasaheb Khedekar, President of Pune Luxury Bus Association, said, “During the non-peak season, bus operators charge low fares. Buses offer facilities like sleeper coach, AC, pillow-blanket and video during. During festivals, buses run with capacity but while returning, they are empty. We charge fares for both ways.”