Mangaluru, Feb 27, 2020 DHNS: Travelling public, upset over Mangaluru-Talapady route private buses cutting short their trip to avoid paying toll charges in Talapady, staged a protest on Wednesday urging the bus owners not to cut the trips short.
Following the protest, the bus services on NH 66 were disrupted for nearly an hour. To avoid paying the hefty toll, the city buses, plying to Talapady, began terminating the trips in front of the toll plaza from the past 45 days. Thus, the passengers were forced to walk for nearly one kilometre to reach the Talapady main bus stand.
As many as 28 buses, each with minimum five trips, operate on the route daily. At Talapady tollgate, a bus has to pay Rs 125 for a single journey and Rs 185 for the return journey. The monthly passes issued for Rs 4,100 was for 30 trips only. Thus to avoid paying a heavy toll, the bus owners decided to cut short the trip at the tollgate.
The locals had even submitted a memorandum urging deputy commissioner to get buses to drop the passengers at the final destination point in Talapady.
The deputy commissioner, in turn, had directed Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) to find a solution to the problem. The passengers continued to be at the receiving end as the bus owners and toll authorities failed to reach a consensus on the issue.
On Wednesday, the buses had dropped the passengers until their last destination during 7 am and 9 am. When those manning the gates demanded the toll, buses got stuck in the cash counter. The buses parked in front of all the gates of the tollgate prevented the movement of other vehicles. As a result, the vehicles remained stranded in the queue on either side of the toll plaza.
The police, who rushed to the spot, took the city bus staff to task. The police had to resort to mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. The protest was withdrawn after ACP Kodandarama promised to convene a meeting of with the deputy commissioner, MP and toll plaza officials to solve the issue on February 29.