Pune: You will have to shell out double the usual fare for a trip to your native place to celebrate Diwali as private bus operators have hiked their fares.
Cashing in on the festive season, private bus operators are charging more than double the original fares for various routes, including Pune-Kolhapur, Pune-Nashik, Pune-Nagpur, Pune-Bengaluru, Pune-Indore and Pune-Goa.
Passengers travelling to their hometowns from Pune between October 15 and 22 are being forced to pay exorbitant fares.
A private bus operator said thousands of passengers, including students and private firm employees from Pune and surrounding areas, go home during Diwali. Over 700 private buses depart from Pune daily to various destinations during Diwali. This year, fares have gone up by 10 per cent to 100 per cent depending on the rush of passengers on a particular route.
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 around Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 against the Rs 1,000 that 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 2,500 as against the regular ticket rate of Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200. Besides, fares for buses on the Pune-Amravati route, which are usually close to Rs 1,000, have also reached up to Rs 3,000. Fares of buses on the busy Pune-Aurangabad route were also hiked from Rs 500 to Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,500 for AC buses.
Balasaheb Khedekar, President of Pune Luxury Bus Association, said, "Peak and non-peak seasons exist in every industry. During the non-peak season, bus operators charge low fares. Buses offer facilities like sleeper coach, AC, pillow-blanket and video during the journey. During festivals, buses run with capacity but while returning, they are empty. We charge fares for both ways during this season."