Peak pricing by omni bus operators has hit passengers hard from the district, particularly those bound for Bengaluru for Deepavali.
Complaints about some operators charging between ₹1,400 and ₹2,200 for a one-way trip circulating on social media has understandably reached the notice of the Transport Department.
Teams have reportedly been formed to conduct checks. “The checking process has been strengthened to rule out excessive charging. Vigilance checks are being undertaken and written complaints from passengers will result in stringent action against erring omni bus operators,” Regional Transport Officer of Tiruchi West Umasakthi said.
The department will not hesitate to detain the buses in such an eventuality for a duration exceeding 10 days. Fines will be imposed on such operators, in addition to subjecting the buses to thorough checks to determine compliance to insurance, tax, and fitness certification, Mr. Umasakthi said.
Omni bus operators denied knowledge of any incidence of surge pricing. It is for the authorities to prevent the practice in such a case, Balu, president of Tiruchi District Omni Buses Operators’ Association said.
As far as buses operated to Chennai are concerned, the pricing — ₹999 for berth, ₹850 for air-conditioned pushback seat, and ₹700 for non AC buses — is followed with care. The Association is not in a position to intervene in the pricing of the tickets by Bengaluru-based operators, Mr. Balu said.
The omni bus operators point out that the scope for surge pricing is limited since there is just one day holiday for Deepavali. The upsurge in travelling was noticeable during the Pooja holidays.
The lull at present is quite noticeable. Be it schools or government offices, the holiday is only on October 18. The bookings are rather low. The current extent of occupancy is only around 60%, Mr. Balu said, referring to the scaled down operations by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and the State Express Transport Corporation for this Diwali season.