Recently Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) in partnership with Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) has introduced a facility to provide Special Entry Darshan (INR 300) ticket along with seat reservation itself to pilgrims those traveling by Super Luxory, Indra, Garuda, Amaravathi and Vennela services. This is a fantastic initiative and makes darshan booking process simple. Here is my recent experience.
I have booked a ticket on Amaravathi service from Bengaluru to Tirupathi using Online booking portal of APSRTC; after fetching the available bus options, when I have opted a Amaravati bus, entered my pick up point and destination point, I was promoted that service I have selected has option to purchase INR 300 Tirumala Special Entry ticket. Once purchase is done, I have received a text message as well same is mentioned in the confirmation screen. But surprisingly darshan details were not mentioned in the e-mail that was sent to me. APSRTC advises pilgrims to report at Balaji Bus Stand, Tirumala prior to two hours of given slot time. My slot was at 11 am so I have reached a bit early to their suggested time. However, there was no help desk personnel until 9:20 am. I called up the given phone number and then personnel have arrived at the counter. All pilgrims was rushing towards his desk. Staff did not have a process in place and pilgrims did not have patience. Somehow pilgrims were made to stand in a line and a personnel started verifying if each pilgrim name is listed in their chart and providing a serial number. This is actually unnecessary process. Then after about 40 minutes, pilgrims were asked to stand at a different location on ground of bus station and then issued Laddu slips. Further we were asked to go towards 300 rupees entrance. When approached and trying to get in, security stopped us and saying RTC personnel has to provide another small ticket for entry and what we have is only for Laddus. Ah, again after waiting of 25 minutes someone has came and given required tickets; then Darshan was smooth and came out within about 40 minutes. Security personnel at the temple need to learn that they should not push everyone; only push those pilgrims who does not move voluntarily.
While this facility is very helpful, APSRTC needs to make it simple. It would save a lot of time by installing a computerized counter at the Balaji Bus stand and provide both ticket and laddu slips instantly on receipt of required details. It can be even simplified, if pilgrim can print them from the website itself. TTD staff can verify with the photo identification document.
Thank you both APSRTC and TTD. Dear APSRTC, you are now-a-days coming up with some cool and innovative ideas. Just that educating personnel and implimenting these facilities with ease would be helpful.
Happy independence day!