Amid Diwali rush, private bus fares have soared causing inconvenience to people who are travelling to their hometowns.
Coming hard on these tourist buses the Pune Regional Transport Office (RTO) has checked as many as 338 vehicles of which 192 buses have been issued memos and ₹14.96 lakh has been charged in fines from bus owners in the last one week.
Since several trains have been cancelled due to work undertaken at Bhusaval stretch, passengers said private operators have been fleecing them. Following complaints, RTO Pune has issued a warning to all tourist bus operators.
Meenal Dev, a passenger travelling to Nagpur from Pune said she was charged ₹6,000 for a seat in a sleeper coach. “The normal fare of luxury buses is around ₹1,500. However, I was charged four times more due to the festive rush,” said Dev, an IT employee.
“There are clear and strict guidelines given by the state government that private tourist bus operators cannot increase ticket rates more than 1.5-fold time compared to normal Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) fares. We have undertaken a drive and till now we have taken action against 192 bus operators and collected ₹14.6 lakh in fines,” said Ajit Shinde, Pune regional transport officer.
As per the information shared by Pune RTO, they have started a special drive to check tourist bus operations during Diwali season. During the drive, it was found that the RTO norms were not followed, and extra passengers were taken in the bus than its actual capacity, and the major complaint was about overcharging.
RTO has formed special squads to check if private bus operators are following norms, said officials.
“Action was taken for overcharging passengers and overcrowding buses,” said Shinde.