Ahead of Sankranti festival, air and bus fares hit the roof

Journey to the home towns is set to be rough on the wallet for the citizens this weekend. As Sankranti approaches, fares of flights and buses have hit the roof while the railways says there is no vacancy in regular as well as special trains.

As the city gets into festival mood, the hiked transportation charges have come as a dampener to people, who are keen on visiting their native places for meeting their near and dear ones and holidaying.

From the most affordable bus rides and railways to the airways, every mode of transportation has seen a sudden spike in charges with majority of them reporting over-bookings forcing people to scout for alternatives.

Online booking websites like Yatra.com, goibibo, MakeMyTrip and redBus have seen a drastic change in prices to cities like Rajamahendravaram, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada, both in roadways and airways.

Flight tickets from Hyderabad to Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Rajamahendravaram from January 9 have seen unprecedented increase. Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam flight ticket on January 9 costs ₹14,269 while the next day it starts from ₹11,790.

From January 12 till 14, the rates start from ₹11,607. Indigo ticket on Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam sector on January 12 comes at ₹11,607, while Spicejet ticket is available online on Tuesday at ₹16,389 while Air India one-stop ticket costs a whopping ₹22,376. The tickets to Vijayawada on January 12 and 13 cost from ₹7,620.

While the TSRTC and APSRTC fares remain the same, private buses have increased their prices almost three times.

On any major route to Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Rajamahendravaram and Tirupati, the tickets are selling like hot cakes. For a ticket in APSRTC that costs ₹746 to Visakhapatnam, the private travel operators are selling from ₹2,490 to ₹3,500 from January 12. Private buses bound for Vijayawada are selling online tickets from ₹ 1,700. Hariprasad Duvvada, a travel agent, said that private companies generally increase the costs during festival seasons as there is more demand, be it a luxury deluxe or non-AC seaters.

The railways, which would have been a cause of relief to the commuters, have also become inaccessible owing to unavailability of seats. Even the special trains that run to ease the rush during this part of the month have left the passengers hanging on waiting lists. The IRCTC website says ‘Regret’ when passengers try to book tickets to Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and other major cities in Andhra Pradesh. The waiting list stands at 400 with no more bookings from January 9 even for regular as well as special trains.

During this time of long waits, many have chosen to hit the highways on their private vehicles, leaving all the hustle behind. Ruchika Sharanya, a regular commuter from Hyderabad to Vijayawada, escaping the extravagant charges of public transportation, said, “I’d rather spend money on the drive than invest more on the expensive fares.”

(With inputs by Sisira Laasya & Vara Laxmi T)

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