The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has earmarked 200 buses for the Sabarimala package trips from Chittoor division from October till January third week.
Speaking to the media here on Monday, Deputy Chief Traffic Manager (Chittoor) P. Ramu said that compared to the private sector, the APSRTC package trips were more affordable to Sabarimala devotees, with several special features. “While retaining the last year’s tariff, in addition to the seating capacity, seven more persons, including child devotees, would be allowed to travel without any extra charges,” he said.
The Express, Super Luxury and Deluxe services were most sought after by devotees. “For instance, we have retained the tariff at ₹49 per km for the Super Luxury category. On an average, a week-long trip for devotees will cost around ₹65,000. There is no extra cost involved for drivers or crew,” he said.
The official said that in 2018-19, a fleet of 204 buses were operated to Sabarimala from the entire State, while this year, from Chittoor division alone 200 buses were being planned.
Parking slots arranged
“More than business considerations, we want to give top priority to comfort and safety of devotees. A Guruswamy (head of a devotees’ party) would be paid a commission of ₹2,000 for booking a bus, as against ₹1,000 last year,” Mr Ramu said.
Talks were held with the Kerala Road Transportation officials to provide parking facility to the RTC buses from Chittoor. “It was agreed positively. All our buses will be having a parking slot there. The buses will be operated up to Pamba based on technical feasibility. We have allotted two drivers for each bus,” Mr. Ramu said.
Meanwhile, the official inspected the buses meant for the Sabarimala package trips at the garage.
A meeting with drivers and crew is scheduled for next month.