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Deepavali dash for holiday spots sends bus fares sky-high

Festive season triggers rise of 100% in pvt bus rates for popular destinations like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa; many travel operators report full occupancy, say rates to go up further as Diwali nears

The bus journey to your favourite holiday destination just got costlier, thanks to the festive season and the rush associated with it.



Bus operators and travel agencies say fares to major cities have doubled, with around 50 per cent of the buses fully booked.

Destinations like Bangalore, Hyderabad and Goa, which are directly connected to the city by road, have seen fares skyrocket with travel operators indicating a further increase in the middle of Diwali.

Bangalore shock
According to a travel operator from Swargate, bookings for AC buses to Bangalore began going up early in September and the rates have been only climbing since then.

"The average rate for all private buses to Bangalore is Rs 1,000, but this has now increased to Rs 2,000.
 
People should book their seats before October 16 and 17, when rates will climb further since Diwali would be just 10 days away," said the operator.

There are at least four leading operators who run buses to Bangalore, and together they operate around 40 services to the technology hub everyday.

Raju Dambale from Gurukrupa Travels said that one such ticket to Bangalore was booked for Rs 3,000 this month, albeit at a time when seat availability was low.

"Around 70 per cent to 80 per cent buses are already full and only 30 per cent are empty," he said.

"The only relatively cheaper services are of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), since their prices are controlled by the government.
 
MSRTC's Bangalore service is at a nascent stage, while KSRTC services have a better frequency."

Hyderabad blues
Fares to Hyderabad have not increased so far, but operators say prices can easily touch Rs 2,500 for an AC sleeper coach a few days before Diwali.

Reshma Lalwani from Lalwani Tours and Travels said that fares to Hyderabad would increase after October 20, though she added that it also depends on the bus operator.

"Operators running the new multi-axle Mercedes and Volvo buses charge more because of the make of the vehicle.
 
The fare range for an AC seat to Hyderabad is between Rs 820 and Rs 1,350," she said.

Hyderabad is also a major holiday destination and there are about 50 services to the Andhra Pradesh capital from the city.

Goan high
The beach state of Goa is probably the cheapest of all destinations with the minimum and maximum AC fares being Rs 450 and Rs 800 respectively, but travel operators say it is unlikely to stay that way for long.

They say rates for Goa are expected to cross the Rs 1,000 mark before and during Diwali.

"An AC sleeper will cost around Rs 1,500 and a non-sleeper will cost around Rs 1,200," said Vaibhav Manepatil, a travel agent from Satara Road.

There are 25 buses to Panaji and Madgaon everyday from Padmavati on Satara Road.

Rise in fares

Bangalore

Usual fare: Rs 1,000
Fare during Diwali: Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000. 

Hyderabad

Usual fare: Rs 800
Fare during Diwali: Rs 2,500

Goa

Usual fare: Rs 800
Fare during Diwali: Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500

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