The AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) found its resources stretched thin on Wednesday as it struggled to accommodate thousands of people heading back to their hometowns to cast their vote.
Every single bus at the Pandit Nehru Bus Station (PNBS) was packed to capacity, but that was still hardly enough to clear the unprecedented rush of passengers on election eve.
Elections are usually a chaotic time for the APSRTC in terms of managing passenger flow, as it has to cater to an unusually large number of travellers on a reduced fleet. The carrier had to allot 620 buses for election duty, resulting in fewer buses for regular operations, officials told The Hindu.
The APSRTC’s Regional Manager G. Nagendra Prasad admitted that there would be a ‘slight inconvenience’ to the public during this crucial time, adding that “best efforts are being put in to minimise the problem”.
As the day progressed, the crowds at the bus station swelled, especially at the platforms designated for rural destinations in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts. “Many people are coming home from Hyderabad to cast their vote,” said Mr. Prasad, informing that all buses belonging to the carrier were on the road, ferrying voters to their homes in time for the elections.
Finding a seat was a challenge, as people jostled to get into buses. A non-stop bus to Eluru was crammed with passengers, with even more passengers waiting for the next bus after failing to get a seat.
Complaints pour in
“Polling is a crucial day and authorities should have made adequate arrangements for the travelling public. On one hand, the Election Commission is leaving no stone unturned to encourage people to cast their vote and on the other, people are subjected to such inconvenience,” rued T. Ranganath, a youth who was travelling to Chintalapudi in West Godavari district.
Ravi Teja, a first-time voter from Tadipatri in Anantapur district, was excited about exercising his franchise. The young voter was on his way to Polavaram in West Godavari district.