Sankranti rush leaves tickets in short supply in AP

Volvo mishaps prompt travellers to prefer trains to buses

Though Sankranti festival is over a month away, tickets for most trains connecting the coastal districts, Nellore, Tirupati and other places from the capital are either sold out ohy16train_eps_1686412fr available with long waiting-list of 600 or more.  Tickets in most trains towards coastal districts from the capital are already sold out for journey on January 10, 11, 12 and 13. This is despite South Central Railway (SCR) permanently augmenting over 55 coaches in popular trains such as Visakhapatnam Garibrath, Gowthami Express, Godavari, Tirupati-Machilipatnam Express, etc. and providing additional berths.

Though most tickets in regular trains are already sold out, there is some scope as passengers can book tickets under tatkal system a day before the journey. This year, SCR is operating over 120 Sabarimala trains for convenience of passengers visiting the temple.

However, more special trains would be operated depending on the booking trend and demand from January first week onwards, says SCR spokesperson.

Though, many private bus operators have opened bookings already, most of the travellers seemed to have preferred trains to private buses apparently following the Volvo bus mishap at Palem in Mahabubnagar district on October 30.

Everyday, private bus operators operate over 400 buses to coastal districts and other places like Tirupati and Bangalore from Hyderabad during Sankranti festival.

According to Andhra Pradesh Private Bus Operators’ Association president H.S.C Bose, last year by this time 35,000 tickets were booked well in advance by commuters, but this year hardly 5,000 tickets have been booked till date.

Pricing could be one factor as train fares are less than those of buses. Besides, commuters appear to be more interested in making current booking on the travel day than booking well in advance as many operators were forced to cancel their buses due to the ongoing special drive against private buses by the Transport Department. This apart, many are opting personal transportation than travelling in buses and trains, he says.

APSRTC had operated over 4,000 special buses during last Sankranti season to different places from the capital and it is likely to announce more special buses this year.