Bus services in Chennai severely affected, passengers made to wait for long hours

Blame the govt not us Trade unions justify bus strike that has crippled Tamil NaduAll photos by The News Minute
news Transport Monday, May 15, 2017 - 13:57

The strike called by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has stalled most bus services in Chennai forcing commuters to wait for buses for hours. Many had to opt to travel by autos and cabs, despite these services charging more than the usual fare.

Even as transport trade unions and the state government are engaged in a face off, it is the common citizen who was forced to face the brunt of it.

All transport unions except those affiliated to the ruling-AIADMK had called for a strike over the issue of wages and Provident Fund, which the government has failed to disburse. 

The strike, said to be the biggest in over a decade, was announced after multiple round of talks between the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar hit a dead end on Sunday

Tamil Nadu bus strike: Passengers stranded, private ticket prices shoot up and buses vandalised

“I have been waiting here for the last 4 hours for a bus to Teynampet. Only one bus came but that also we do not know where it went," 40-year-old Razzak, a stranded commuter told The News Minute.

“I came from Ambattur. There are buses till Koyambedu, but there are very few buses from here to other parts of the city. I have to go to Velachery for work. One bus came, but it was full," said 23-year-old HR professional Sudha, another stranded passenger.

A private bus conductor told TNM that the situation was indeed bad for commuters.

“Only 110 private buses are running to different districts in Tamil Nadu. The fares are the same, we have not hiked it. No government buses are running to different districts from here," Bharathi, a private bus conductor told TNM.

However, a senior State Express Transport Corporation official claimed that was an exaggeration, "All government buses are running to different districts and we are trying to bring in all the drivers and conductors to run the buses.”

Another official said that 130 buses (90 government and 40 private) were operating to and from the city’s main Koyambedu bus terminus, and just 50 odd buses had stopped plyng.

Chennai did not witness any major violence on Monday, though a few buses were vandalised on Sunday. 

A total of 80 policemen were deployed to prevent violence at the bus terminus alone.

 Speaking on the issue of inconvenience by the common man, a senior union leader said that the government was only to blame for the situation.

“We are not responsible if the public is suffering, this is all because of the state transport department. We have been waiting for the last eight years for them to pay our dues. If people are suffering, you should ask these questions to the minister not to the trade unions, we are not responsible for it," CITU president A Soundarajan told TNM.

Fortunately, school going children have escaped the inconvenience thanks to summer vacation.

Some private companies have allowed work from home option for their employees.

“I usually take a bus from Parry's to Guindy, but today I took the local train. The company has allowed others who find it difficult to commute to work from home." an IT professional said.

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