Ready for the holidays

Ready for the holidays

Most schools and colleges are closed for Dasara and people have already chalked out elaborate plans to make the most of the holidays. Trains and buses to Kerala, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, have registered the maximum number of bookings.

Seats on buses and trains have been booked well in advance and those lining up at the last minute to book tickets have been forced to look for alternative means.

AK Agarwal, divisional railway manager South Western Railways, Bangalore division points out that trains towards Jaipur, Patna, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Kerala, like Kochuveli, Kurla, just to name a few, are all booked and the waiting lists are rather long in all these trains.

“The maximum waiting list that can be extended for any train is 300 and nothing can be done if the number exceeds. This year, we haven’t been able to put in any additional coaches because most of the coaches have gone in for augmentation. The permissable number of coaches for any train is only 24. We can’t exceed that,” explains Agarwal.

 “This is the situation of waiting lists. Every year during holidays and especially during Dasara, people book two or three months in advance,” he adds.

Agarwal further states that the unreserved compartments are always overflowing with people. “There are people who travel sitting on the floor, hanging on the door and sometimes even sitting on the bogie. There are three to four unreserved coaches in any train and they are all full,” he points out.

Buses too have been booked but people confess that there’s a certain element of uncertainity when it comes to buses. Goa, Pondicherry, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kerala are popular destinations. The seats on buses to Kerala have been booked too.

Pushparaj, on duty at the KSRTC booking counter, says that bookings to places such as Kannur, Kozhikode, Kottayam and Kochi are full. “There’s a last minute rush of college students, who come asking for tickets as soon as their colleges close. The hike in KSRTC fares has not made a difference to the booking,” Pushparaj observes.

The airlines too have registered a sizeable number of reservations. “We have a lot of people who travel for business purposes almost everyday but during Dasara we do see a slight increase in bookings, especially to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata,” says a source in the BIAL.

People who are travelling say that they book a month or two in advance because it’s easier to get bus, train tickets and hotel rooms as well. PVN Balakrishnan, general manager of a construction company, says that he booked tickets to Kochi almost two months ago. “I‘ve booked ticket for my wife and myself and now, my children want to come along but I am having a tough time getting tickets. Looks like we would either have to travel by car or simply cancel the trip,” he rues.

The situation is no different with VR Chandran who says that to travel comfortably, one has to book tickets during Dasara at least two months in advance. “Last time, I couldn’t get a train ticket and decided to catch a bus, which got cancelled at the last minute. Buses are unreliable. When I fail to get train tickets, I either end up catching a flight or driving to my destination,” he sums up.

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