The ticket fares of non-AC buses from Madurai to Chennai ranged between Rs 800 and Rs 1,200 against the usual Rs 600 to Rs 700. The cost of AC sleeper tickets was sold for up to Rs 2,000 on the same route. Fares to the city from Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari, Nagercoil, Thoothukudi, Thiruchendur peaked up to Rs 1,100 to Rs 2,500. Passengers from southern districts were among the worst affected.
“As my train ticket did not get confirmed, I was forced to travel by bus. Considering the heavy rush in the government buses, I thought it will be much safer to choose private operators in view of COVID. But omnibus agents made use of the heavy rush to fleece passengers. Normally, a sleeper AC bus ticket to Chennai from Madurai would cost about Rs 1,000 but they sold it for Rs 1500,” K Saravanan, a private company employee, lamented. He said the government should take steps to fix fares for the omnibuses, too, at least during the holidays.
A transport corporation official said that passengers should make use of the government buses as they are operating special buses to prevent overcrowding. “For those who travelled to their native places for voting, we operated 13,853 buses facilitating the travel of 5.59 lakh passengers between April 1 and 5. To those returning to the city, we are operating a total of 6,565 buses, including 2,115 special buses from various parts of the State,” the official said.