Ganpati rush: Flying to Goa cheaper than AC bus ticket to Konkan

Bus operators are charging Rs700-Rs1,200 for a non-AC bus journey till Kankavli, much higher than the usual Rs350-400

mumbai Updated: Aug 28, 2017 09:10 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindustan Times
The special ST buses for Konkan.(Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

With a large number of Mumbaiites rushing to Konkan for Ganesh Chaturthi (August 25), the prices of private bus tickets skyrocketed on Thursday, making an economy class flight ticket to Goa seem cheaper.

Bus operators are charging Rs700-Rs1,200 for a non-AC bus journey till Kankavli, much higher than the usual Rs350-Rs500. “A bus operator charged me almost double the normal fare, but we didn’t have any other option but to pay that amount,” said Manoj Kadam, 40, a Mumbai Central resident, who was waiting for his bus at Parel for more than two hours.

The fare for Mumbai-Sawantwadi non-AC buses on a popular bus booking website ranged from Rs1,000-Rs1,600. The fare for AC Volvo buses was Rs1,400-Rs2,400, while for AC sleeper coach was Rs1,700-Rs3500.

An economy class flight ticket to Goa, if booked around two months ago, cost Rs1,200.

“One of my colleagues, who is from Konkan area, booked a flight ticket to Goa for just Rs1,150 to go to his native place. He will have to travel back to Sawantwadi, but it is still cheaper,” said Amol Panchal, 25, a bank executive waiting for his bus at Elphinstone Road.

He said he paid Rs1,300 for an AC sleeper coach ticket last year, but this year the fare has gone up to Rs2,200.

Private bus operators said passengers who booked at last minute complained about high fare, while those who book in advance get tickets at normal rates, which is at par with ST buses. “We put extra buses during this time and they run empty while returning. So we hike the fare to recover operating cost,” said Malik Patel, leader of Mumbai Bus operators.

To reduce the rush, 250 special trains and 2,200 state transport buses are being run on the route. “Trains get booked within few minutes, so we have no option but to rely on private buses,” said Prashant Sawant, 24, a Vikhroli resident.

MSRTC spokesperson said on Tuesday and Wednesday they operated 358 and 1,381 Ganpati specials. “We operated around 300 buses on Thursday,” he added.

First Published: Aug 24, 2017 12:05 IST