CHENNAI: As the Christmas season begins, bus and flight ticket fares have skyrocketed with the trains fully booked, leaving passengers who want to go to their hometowns distressed.
Despite the omnibus owner's association fixing maximum ticket fares for buses operated to various parts of the state and neighbouring states, the buses continue to fleece the passengers by charging exorbitant fares.
With the half-yearly exam holidays declared for school students and ensuing Christmas and New Year celebrations, people visit their hometowns for holidays and celebration. However, omnibus tickets are sold at premium fares. A ticket for Chennai to Madurai on Saturday was sold at as high as Rs 4999 on a non-AC sleeper bus while the AC sleeper tickets were sold at Rs 2900 to Rs 3200. For travel to Coimbatore from the city, a passenger has to shell out around Rs 2800 to Rs 3500 as bus fare.
A transport department official said that action would be taken against the omnibus if the passengers' complaints about excess fares were collected from them. "The omnibus should collect fares fixed by the bus owner's association, " the official said.
With the Indian railways allowing booking of tickets 120 days in advance to the date of the journey, all the tickets get booked well ahead of the festival season and leave with the only option of travelling by bus. R Soundarajan, a private employee, in the city, said that he was forced to travel by omnibus paying exorbitant fares as he could not get a train tatkal ticket for Madurai.
With the holiday and festival season ahead, air ticket prices also skyrocketed. A flight ticket to Madurai cost as much as Rs 14,000 against the normal fare of Rs 3,600 while a ticket to Thoothukudi cost Rs 14,500 against Rs 5,300 normally.