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Commuters ditch private buses for Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation

Wednesday, 6 November 2013 - 11:35am IST | Place: Belapur | Agency: DNA

High fares by private bus operators seem to have benefited Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), which claims to have had a good business during the Diwali holidays. MSRTC deployed over 4,000 additional buses during the festive period to clear extra rush of passengers.

“The management was aware of the rush and also of high fares being charged by private bus operators. It was with this view that additional buses were pressed into service on almost every route. People preferred MSRTC buses given that the rates charged were reasonable as compared to private bus operators. It was not only AC Volvo buses, but even the ordinary buses were packed,” said MSRTC official not wishing to be named.

When asked about the additional revenue which the MSRTC expected to generate during the festive season, the official said, “It could be in a range of 30-40%. The exact figures are not available right now, but one thing is for sure that people have preferred MSRTC buses due to high tariff of private operators. MSRTC’s Shivneri and Ashwamedh (AC Volvo bus services to Pune) were a big hit.”

Sudhesh Kulkarni, who boarded a bus for Pune from Kokan Bhavan in Belapur, said, “The additional buses came as a big relief for passengers. I could not book in advance because I was not certain that about getting a leave from work. However, on reaching Kokan Bhavan, I was told by the MSRTC official that additional buses have been deployed and I will get a seat in one of the buses.”

He added, “Private bus operators who charged as much as Rs550 to Rs600 for Borivli to Pune, were running with empty seats as people preferred taking MSRTC buses. Private operators were seen negotiating seats for Rs300 to Rs350 at Kokan Bhavan for Pune.”

Residents also appreciated the online ticketing initiative of MSRTC, saying, “I had booked online bus ticket for the first time and had apprehensions. However, I realised that it was one of the easiest way to book ticket and board a bus at the place of your choice. Travelling to Satara was never so easy,” said Ajit Katekar, a resident of Sanpada, who was travelling with his family to Satara for Diwali.

Another MSRTC official, said, “Private operators scored as they halted their vehicles at good hotels which had hygienic toilet facilities. The corporation too has started this policy although on certain routes and we are taking every possible step to attract passengers to MSRTC buses which are far more safe and reliable than any private bus operators.” He added, “Another reason why people preferred MSRTC buses was that in case of a breakdown, MSRTC is able to provide any alternative much earlier than any private bus operator whose main aim is to earn big bucks during festival and vacation period.”

Who won?
The management was aware of the rush and also of high fares being charged by private bus operators. It was with this view that additional buses were pressed into service on almost every route.

People preferred MSRTC buses given that the rates charged were reasonable as compared to private bus operators. It was not only AC Volvo buses, but even the ordinary buses were packed
Another reason why people preferred MSRTC buses was that in case of a breakdown, MSRTC is able to provide any alternative much earlier.




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