Caught between devil and the deep sea

Caught between devil and the deep sea
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Caught between devil and the deep sea. The ride in special buses being operated by the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) in view of the ongoing employees’ strike has proved to be a costly affair for public.

The ride in special buses being operated by the Road Transport Corporation (RTC) in view of the ongoing employees’ strike has proved to be a costly affair for public. According to an RTC official, more than 600 buses are plying the city against the usual 1,300. People are being charged double the usual ticket price and no ticket is being issued.

Commuters are being charged double the standard price during the strike

The sad part is that bus passes of students and office-goers are also not being accepted. “About 450 private drivers and 600 conductors have been recruited on a temporary basis to run the RTC bus services. The bus drivers are being paid Rs 1,000 per day while the wages of conductors are Rs 800 per day,” the RTC official said.

The RTC employees’ strike demanding 43 per cent fitment and the subsequent operation of special buses by the management have upset the monthly budget of middle income groups and salaried sections and forced them to increase the monthly budgetary allocation for transport.

The major political parties have flayed the ‘adamant’ attitude of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government and the RTC management in conceding the employees’ demand for 43 per cent fitment.

They also denounced the recruitment of inexperienced private lorry drivers to run the special buses, putting the lives of travelling public at risk. The left parties have demanded the TDP government to resolve the issues immediately, keeping in view the severe hardships faced by public.

Daily commuters have fumed at the RTC management for its failure to preempt the strike by conceding the employees’ demand for payment of fitment on par with State government staff. Ch Vijaya, a teacher who shuttles between Vijayawada and Vuyyuru, said, “The fare charged in the special buses is double the ticket price. It is nothing but looting public.

Bus pass holders are losing on two counts due to the RTC strike. Firstly, their passes are not being accepted. Secondly, they are being forced to shell out double the fare.” She laments that travelling in these special buses is not safe as lorry drivers are running the vehicles.

Speaking to The Hans India, RTC deputy chief traffic manager G Nagendra Prasad said, “We have set revenue targets for the crew of special buses depending on the commuter traffic of the route. They will have to show the fixed revenue at the end of the day.

Tickets are not being issued in the buses as conductors recruited on a temporary basis cannot handle the task of a regular employee. However, we will ensure that bus passes are accepted in these special buses.” Meanwhile, auto rickshaws, shuttle autos, mini-vans and private buses are making a fast buck by charging exorbitant fare.

By Ch Sowmya Sruthi

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