The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation, the first state transport undertaking in India to have a web-based passenger seat reservation system “Any Where Any Time Advanced Reservation System” (Awatar) since April 29, 2006, doesn’t seem to be keen on allowing short-distance booking.
It doesn’t allow booking even for a distance of 332km for which an Airavat Club Class (Volvo) bus takes 6 hours, 30 minutes to traverse.
Manoj Lokhande, who tried to book a seat from Hubballi to Satara by service number: 1300MYSMUM Volvo bus for January 25, said he wondered if all seats had been booked. “When I tried booking seats for the Hubballi-Mumbai journey, I found 33 seats vacant. The bus stops at Satara and Awatar shows a fare of Rs 817. But we have to book it by paying the higher fare to Mumbai,” he said.
He added, “Hubballi to Satara is not a short distance; it’s almost an overnight journey. I wanted to book seats for my family members but was disappointed to know it was not possible.”
Ma Vem Sa Prasad, a consumer rights activist, said when a bus stops at a particular place, the transport corporation should also enable booking. “If it has any norms for short-distance passengers, it should post the reservation rules.”
“A minimum 50% of the total distance should be covered to be able to book a seat in advance. Awatar is built according to minimum distance criteria to avoid short-distance booking. However, we’ll check its legal sanctity and try to incorporate a dialogue box to state it for people who intend to book seats on Awatar,” said Nayana, divisional traffic officer, Awatar, and VTMS Section, KSRTC central office, Bengaluru.