Talapady residents protest against buses ending trips before toll plaza

Operators rue hefty toll charges make their venture unsustainable; seek administration’s intervention

Residents of Talapady and surrounding areas on Wednesday formed a human chain to force private city buses to end and commence their trips from Talapady village even as they protested hefty toll charges being proposed for the city buses.

Private city buses plying between State Bank and Talapady had stopped crossing the toll plaza of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to reach Talapady village as the operators were asked to pay regular toll charges.

Buses were parked just before the toll plaza while passengers were forced to walk all the way, nearly 1 km, to avail bus services.

While villagers under the banner of the Talapady Tollgate Horata Samiti demanded buses cross the plaza and conduct their operations from the designated bus stand, operators refused to do so as the plaza operators demanded ₹260 per one way trip.

Residents formed a human chain at the make-shift bus stop near the plaza preventing buses from being parked at the spot.

With the intervention of the Ullal Police, plaza operators allowed buses to cross the plaza without collecting any charges for a day.

Dilraj Alva, president of DK Bus Operators’ Association, the umbrella body of private city bus operators, told The Hindu that the association had held innumerable meetings with representatives of Navayuga Udupi Tollway Pvt., Ltd., the National Highways Authority of India, and the district administration.

Every bus conducts seven to eight round trips a day. Promising to offer 40% discount, Navayuga calculated every round trip as two trips and demanded ₹30,000 a month per bus. This would cause immense hardship to bus operators. While the association had proposed to make a lump sum payment of ₹2 lakh in advance every month for all buses, the company was yet to respond, he said.

The continued logjam has been affecting bus operators as well as travelling public, Mr. Alva regretted demanding immediate intervention of the district administration in the matter.

Deputy Commissioner K.V. Rajendra said he called a meeting of all the stakeholders to resolve the issue on Thursday.

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