Private operators given special permission to operate, but passengers few

Among the slew of measures unleashed by the State government to tackle the indefinite strike called by a section of road transport corporation (RTC) employees is the special permission given to private operators to run services without permit for the duration of the strike. However, operators say passengers are few.

S. Nataraj Sharma, chairman, Karnataka State Travel Operators Association, said most people appear to have stayed away from travelling given the wide publicity the strike got.

"Most people seem to have put off travel plans as they were warned ahead of the strike and they didn’t want to take a chance. As a result, we have more buses than passengers now. In Majestic, there are 360 buses, but passengers enough only for 50 to 60 buses. There are not even 10 people per bus. There is no profit for us,” he said.

He added that inter-state and district night operators may have normal business as most people have made online bookings, but those running inter-district services during the day under special permission are faced with losses.

Radhakrishna Holla, Association president, said private taxis too reported similar response.

“Our business was down already, as most sectors barring banking were not open fully. From a lakh a day, we’ve been catering to around 20,000 passengers now. Only when flight passengers increase does business pick up now. With most people either not venturing out or using own transport or shared services such as electric bikes, most vehicles have just been standing,” he said. He also said that the Transport Department is in constant touch with the private operators gauging the situation.

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