A day ahead of Diwali, private bus operators in Tamil Nadu have started charging nearly equal to the flight ticket prices, for their services from Chennai to tier-2 cities like Coimbatore and Madurai.
On Thursday (October 24), the minimum price of an A/C sleeper bus ticket from Chennai to Coimbatore was found to be ₹1,700, excluding tax, while the flight ticket was ₹2,270. The fares for the same bus service rose as soon as the seats started getting filled. The private operator who charged ₹1,700 on Thursday was found charging ₹2,250 as base fare on Friday (October 25).
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“I first tried booking a bus to Coimbatore on Friday night and found it was over ₹2,000. But, the flight ticket was around Rs 2270 and since I am travelling by flight for the first time, I also received an offer. So, now I can travel to Coimbatore by flight for only ₹1,700, which is far better than travelling in an A/C sleeper bus, since the travelling time by flight is less than an hour,” said IT employee K Krishnakumar, a native of Coimbatore.
The situation is same for other buses plying to smaller towns like Perundurai in Erode district, Rasipuram in Namakkal and Sivakasi in Virudhunagar. These services charged as much as ₹1,700-₹2,200, equal to the prices charged for services to the tier-2 cities.
It may be noted that State Transport minister MR Vijayabhaskar had warned the private operators over excess fare, however, there has not been much change on the ground.
According to transport officials, the department has formed special teams to check excess pricing for tickets. “The buses would be checked at various check posts and before toll plazas. If they are found charging exorbitant rates, the vehicle will be seized and legal action will be taken against them. If it is found in the mid-way, the bus will be allowed to travel and will be seized at the destination,” an official said.
Meanwhile, the transport department has deployed 10,940 special buses for three days across the state, of which, 4,600 buses will operate from Chennai to other parts of the state.
In Chennai, buses would be operated from Koyambedu bus terminus, Madhavaram New Bus stand, Aringar Anna bus stand, Tambaram-Sanatorium, Tambaram Railway station, Poonamalle Municipal bus stand and KK Nagar Bus stand on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the department said.
In order to regulate traffic, buses to Kumbakonam, Thanjavur and surrounding areas would depart from Arignar Anna Bus stand and Tambaram Sanatorium, while those to Tiruvanamalai, Madurantakam, Neyveli, Panruti, Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil would depart from Tambaram Railway Station bus stand. Buses bound for Kancheepuram, Vellore, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Chittoor would depart from Poamallee bus stand.