Bengaluru RTO officials book 250 cases against private bus operators

They have been booked for for transportation of firecrackers, charging exorbitant fares

Transport department officials carried out drives to book cases against private bus operators for illegally allowing transportation of firecrackers and other goods in passenger buses and on charges of fleecing passengers by charging exorbitant fares.

Around 250 cases were booked against operators in drives at Majestic and other areas in the city.

Joint commissioner K T Halaswamy said, “We had received complaints about buses charging exorbitant fares from the general public and carrying firecrackers in the passenger buses. Our officials checked buses at various points in the city and removed such hazardous goods. Cases have been booked against the operators for allowing such lapses.”

However, private bus operators in the city said they are yet to recover from the losses induced by the pandemic and they are being targetted by officials during the festive season.

“We saw only 20% demand during this season. Last year, people were ready to pay ₹2,000 to ₹3,000 to travel to destinations such as Hyderabad . But there is no demand this time. Many are preferring flights over long distance bus travel. Despite knowing the financial distress of the operators, officials are targetting us. They say carrying luggage is illegal though there is provision for luggage space in the buses. They booked cases and imposed penalty of ₹5,000 to ₹6,000 on the bus owners,” said Nataraj Sharma , general secretary of Karnataka State Tourist Operators Association.


‘Moderate’ demand for AC buses

Meanwhile, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) received moderate demand for its AC services. After the outbreak of COVID-19, more than 600 luxury AC buses, including Ambari dream class buses, remained off the road. However, around 200 AC buses hit the roads during festivities.

An official of the KSRTC said, “For the first time in over seven and half months, we saw a slight rise in demand for the AC fleet. Even after relaxation of lockdown, hardly a few buses were running. During, this festive season, around 200 AC buses hit the road. However, a large number AC bus fleet still remain off road as the public is still wary of travelling in AC buses.”

The official said that this season, they received close to 44,000 online bookings and 1000 additional buses were operated, out of which a majority of them are intra state services. “Interstate services still remain low may be because of work from home option. During this season, last year, to Madurai we operated 50 trips, Puducherry 25 trips, Goa around 30 trips, but this time, hardly one or two buses were operated. Even for interstate services, we did not see much demand for AC buses,” the official said.

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Sagar Biswas

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