Many people who are heading to their hometowns to vote are having to put up with higher bus fares, with the polling day for the first round of elections in Karnataka coinciding with a long weekend.
Several transport operators have jacked up the fares despite warnings by the Transport Department.
On ticket booking portals, the fare for a seat on an AC bus plying from Bengaluru to coastal cities such as Mangaluru and Udupi is as much as ₹2,000. Usually, the fare is between ₹850 and ₹950.
Not just private operators, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, too has increased the fares, and is charging an additional 10 to 20% on popular routes.
Officials, however, said the hike was because of holiday rush and long weekend, and not elections.
“On weekends and the holiday seasons, fares usually increase by 20%. The KSRTC is also operating additional services on election-eve to facilitate voters to go to their native places. Already, 50 additional buses are made available from the city to Mangaluru,” said an official.
Transport Commissioner V.P. Ikkeri said his department was taking action against some private bus operators.
Another senior official said 250-odd cases were booked last week when some operators were found charging higher fares during Ugadi. Buses were checked at various points on Tumakuru Road, Ballari Road, Hosur Road, and other areas.
“In addition to penalty, bus operator’s licence may be suspended or cancelled depending on the case. We will take action against the operators, if passengers come forward and lodge complaints about the hike in ticket price,” said an official.