Hyderabad: Sharing seats, standing, jostling and elbowing each other and even climbing atop the vehicle, passengers went through all this and much more on Thursday, as was witnessed at major bus terminals in the city as people travelled to their native places to cast their votes on Friday.
The Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station, Jubilee Bus Station and Uppal Bus Station, the three major bus terminals for travelling outstation, all witnessed heavy rush. With a long weekend ahead as Friday and Saturday are holidays, several students, working professionals and parents carrying their toddlers were spotted eagerly waiting for their home-bound buses.
People were seen running with their travel bags, backpacks and suitcases in the terminals while some men hopped onto the bus through the windows as well. “I will be voting for the first time so I decided to head back home. I did not expect so much rush at the MGBS,” Kamal Kumar, a first-year degree student, said.
Owing to the demand from passengers, the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) increased the frequency of outstation buses from the three major bus terminals in the city. The rush was such that the corporation added 1,500 more buses including Palle Velugu, Deluxe and Super Luxury services among others to the existing 3,500. This apart, 200 city buses were also diverted towards outstation destinations.
Despite running additional buses, the passengers had to face hardships as they had to wait for long hours to board the buses. “I waited for more than one hour to board the bus to Achampet,” Narender Reddy said.
While the RTC added additional buses to meet the demand, it did not hike the fare prices. “The rush is mainly because of elections and a long weekend. We have added an additional 1,500 buses which will help more than one lakh people reach their destinations and the charges will remain the same,” a senior TSRTC official said. However, cashing in on the demand, private bus operators hiked their fares.
“Daily we have about 60 per cent to 70 per cent occupancy. Due to the extended weekend, people are heading to their native places in Andhra Pradesh and there is 100 per cent occupancy. We are charging Rs 50 more per ticket,” Vikram Reddy, a private bus operator said.