Guwahati: A passenger traveling from Gadag to Hubballi Monday was in for a shock after the driver-cum-conductor of a North Western Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NWKRTC) bus asked him to pay an additional Rs 10 for carrying a laptop along with him.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, the passenger, a working professional, who did not wish to be named, explained that he had turned on his laptop to work during his journey towards Hubballi. When the driver noticed the device, he walked up to him and asked him to pay Rs 10 extra for carrying the laptop but the passenger refused to pay.
He added, “The driver-cum-conductor came up to me and cited an order issued by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and said it applies for NWKRTC too. The order does not mention laptops in the list of luggage that can be carried free of cost unless they cross the 30 kg threshold.”
The passenger further said, “Upon contacting some conductor friends of mine, I learnt that some conductors and transport officials have been asked by higher authorities to charge extra from passengers who use their laptops while travelling. I was also told that if the conductors and officials fail to levy the additional amount, then they run the risk of being fined.”
The circular in question is dated October 29 where the KSRTC introduced some changes in the existing luggage rules. The order states that a passenger is allowed to carry things like rice, ragi, vegetables, fan, mixer grinder boxes, coconuts, backpacks for free. But extra charges will apply if the aforementioned items weigh more than 30 kg. The order nowhere mentions laptops in the list of items that can be carried for free. The passenger claimed that this loophole is being used as an excuse by some transport officials to charge passengers extra.
The passenger also claimed that the charge varies on the distance of the journey and the number of units of additional luggage.
A spokesperson of the NWKRTC, however, said there is no such rule to charge extra for laptops. “Since a laptop is a device just like a mobile phone which is a part of the passenger’s luggage, there will be no extra charges levied.”