Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 04 October 2023 6.44 PM IST

Malayali passengers are being exploited


Only few families in Kerala does not have people working abroad or in other states. It is during summer holidays that most people come home. They are being robbed in the skies and on earth. Vehicles are not available even if they are willing to give higher flight, train and bus tickets. Airlines and long-distance private bus operators have started making the most of this opportunity by increasing their charges every day. Running special trains during the holidays would have solved this problem to some extent. Railways is not trying to do that. The MPs, who should bring these matters to the attention of government and pressurize them to run more special trains, do not care about this. Therefore, the Malayalis who have to travel are going through a very difficult situation.

Train tickets to Kerala are not available from any of the major south Indian cities like Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. Only those who have purchased tickets at least three months in advance can travel. Taking advantage of this, private buses have increased the charge by two and three times. There is a huge increase in buses from Bengaluru to Kerala and back. Private buses hiked fares by 60 percent to 90 percent for Easter. Buses coming from Bengaluru to Kochi charge 3000 to 5000 for AC sleeper. This too may rise as Vishu approaches. The only relief is that KSRTC is running at regular fares. Apart from the existing services till April 15, KSRTC is running more than 30 services to Bengaluru and five services to Chennai. Even if there are additional services, there will be no shortage of passengers.

The night travel ban etc. are making the travel problem from Bengaluru more acute. At this juncture, the Railways should take immediate steps to add more coaches to the existing services. It is also the time when expatriate families go on Gulf trips as there are school holidays in the country. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the airlines have made a huge increase in the ticket charges. Meanwhile, Air India has withdrawn large planes. With that, 500 seats were reduced from Kozhikode alone. Air India's 21 services from Kochi have also been cut to seven. Tickets to Gulf countries, which costed less than Rs 10,000, now cost up to Rs 36,000.

Malayali families traveling on holiday are being exploited in every sense. And it repeats every holiday. The government should also think about what it takes to find a permanent solution to this.

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