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Will cancel permits of buses found fleecing: Chennai Transport minister

Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday sought to rein in avaricious omnibus operators by warning them of stringent action, including cancellation of permits, as they are making a killing by selling tickets for the long weekend at abnormally high rates.

Commuters allege fancy fares collected by omni bus operators range from 950 per seat to 2,000 for a trip from Chennai to Madurai during weekends.

As Sri Krishna Jayanthi and Independence Day follow the coming weekend, there is high demand for omni bus tickets.

In some cases, bus fares match airfares along the sector.

“As train tickets get booked in no time, we have no option other than depending on buses. But there seems to be no control on the fare fixed by the operators. Since government bus service is poor, we are at the mercy of private operators,” said R Murali, a frequent commuter.

Transport department has announced operation of 980 buses from Chennai to various destinations to manage the weekend rush.

Transport minister M R Vijayabaskar said his department was aware of complaints of overcharging passengers.

“We will initiate stringent action against them,” the minister said. 

If operators refuse to return the excess money collected from commuters, their permits would be cancelled, he said.

All Omni Bus Owners and Operators’ Association secretary A Anbazhagan said it was for the government to regulate services as 4,000 buses were being operated in the state.

“There is no fare fixation. High court is seized of the issue. We are ready to cooperate with the government once the fares are fixed. We get revenue only during weekends,” he said.

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