The passengers travelling in long route luxury private buses are a troubled lot these days as they are being forced to pay the bus fare for the entire journey — from starting point till the destination — no matter if the passenger is travelling for the said distance or not. Worst, the fare can be as high as four times what one pays in a government luxury bus for the same distance.
When this correspondent contacted the office of a private bus company (9317193171) to enquire about the fare between Delhi and Ludhiana, he was told that it was Rs.2,500, while for Amritsar the fare was Rs.2,800. The fare between Delhi and Ludhiana in a Punjab Roadways Volvo bus is Rs.635, while a private company based at Bathinda is charging as much as Rs.2,500 for the same distance.
Rashpal Singh, one of the passengers, who travelled from Delhi to Ludhiana, complained, “I recently travelled from Delhi to Ludhiana, whereas I was charged the fare till Jalandhar. The private bus conductors are charging fare at their will. Given the fact that these Volvo buses do provide additional services during the travel such as water bottle, coolie service and taxi service at the de-boarding point, still the fare is irrational. Transport authorities must ensure a uniform fare policy in the state.”
When contacted, director, state transport, said, “I have not received any complained regarding overcharging by private bus operators. I joined the office only recently and will ask the officials concerned to look into the matter. If anything unlawful is found, the dafaulters will be dealt with sternly.”
However, additional transport commissioner, Harmel Singh, said, “Government buses run under ‘Stage Carriage’ scheme while ‘Contract Carriage’ (private buses) run on their own. State transport department can’t intervene in matters of owner and passenger’s negotiated price (bus fare) in private buses.