Bus, flight fares to Kerala shoot up

 Floods and detours add to surge pricing, but KSRTC (Karnataka, not Kerala) is retaining its regular fares

Private buses plying to Kerala are making a killing this season. Their fares have doubled in many cases.

Two reasons are cited for the steep fares: the increased demand, with Bakrid and Onam coming up this weekend, and the deviations the buses have to take because of the floods.

Many Malayalis who planned to head home for the festivities have cancelled their plans, deterred more by the fares than the flood situation. Private bus tickets that used to cost Rs 1,200 now cost Rs 2,500 and more. However, the fares of KSRTC buses plying to Mangaluru and beyond to Kerala destinations remain the same. G T Prabhakara Reddy, divisional controller, KSRTC, says 30 buses are headed to Kerala destinations every day. “The rush is because of the festivities, and people have booked tickets well in advance,” he says. Most KSRTC buses on the Mangaluru and Kerala route are taking detours because the regular roads have caved in because of heavy rains. “Despite the longer routes, we have not increased our fares,” he says. “We have increased the fares because of Onam,” says an employee with a private bus operator.

Train scene

The fares for two and three-tier air-conditioned coaches on trains, heading from Bengaluru to Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Chalakudy, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru, range between Rs 860 and Rs 1,650 and second class fares are between Rs 330 and Rs 365.

“This is a rush season but this year we have seen a dip of almost 50 per cent in bookings. People are not taking the trains because of the floods. We have more cancellations than reservations this time,” a senior official says.

Flights

The charges for most flights from Bengaluru to Cochin, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru are usually priced at about Rs 6,000. Airlines, including the government-run Air India, have jacked up their fares, sometimes to as high as Rs 65,000.

An official with a private airline says, “We are operating only a limited number of flights and our charges could fluctuate. There is also a certain amount of risk involved for the company when we operate with a limited number of flights.” Some airlines have put up sold-out signs on their websites.

Fare snapshot

Buses

Private: 
Fares double and more.
KSRTC: Regular fares. No hike.

Trains

No change in fares.

Flights

Steep surge (of up to Rs 65,000)

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