As Dharamsala is likely to witness heavy rush for the India-West Indies one day international match on October 17, private transporters operating Volvo bus services between New Delhi and the town have increased the bus fare on the route indiscriminately.
The price of one seat of Volvo AC available on online booking portals for October 16 between Delhi to Dharamsala route ranges from Rs1500 to Rs1900.
All those who have planned a visit to the hill town, while going back you will need to shell more money for the bus fare as almost all bus operators have increased the fares, except for Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC) Volvo services.
Sources said the private operators increase the bus fares on every weekend or during important events that take place in Dharamsala, which is the abode of Tibetan Spiritual Leader the Dalai Lama.
Interestingly, the bus fares, which otherwise range between Rs800 and Rs1100 were increased to `2000 per ticket during the teaching by the Dalai Lama last week.
The sources said the there were only three private transporters who operate Volvo AC buses on the Dharamsala-Delhi route. However, the online booking contains a list of around a dozen of private bus operators who claim to run Volvo buses on the route.
“Some of them even claim to operate Mercedes luxury buses on this route. The nexus of booking agents and private bus operators is involved in this loot,” said the source, adding that the booking agents register on the booking portals with fake names and charge commuters exorbitantly.
“These agents than sell the booked seats to these private bus operators on commission,” it added.
Meanwhile, inquiries revealed that the private transporters have Contract Carriage Permits and hence are not supposed to operate regular bus services.
“Contract Carriage Permits allow them to ferry group of tourists. However, they are running regular services on fixed timings,” told sources. They have some identified pick up-and drop points within the town and passengers are told to board the buses only on these points. To cheat the government, private operators show the regular passengers as group of tourists.
Interestingly, these private operators slash the ticket prices to half that of HRTC, causing heavy losses to the state government-run transport which is already reeling under fund crunch.
Meanwhile, transport minister GS Bali said strict action will be taken those violating rules.
“The private bus operators have Contract Carriage Permit and are not supposed to run regular services. Heavy fine will be imposed on the illegal buses being run on the Dharamsala- Delhi route,” Bali added.