Private buses are charging double the rate, as commuters wait desperately for transport.

Tamil Nadu bus strike Passengers stranded private ticket prices shoot up and buses vandalised
news Transport strike Monday, May 15, 2017 - 10:12

A crippling transport strike has spelled woes for bus commuters across Tamil Nadu. Services have taken a massive hit, with not even 50% of the buses plying across multiple districts in the state, according to various reports. Further, miscreants are reported to have embarked on a rampage damaging more than 20 buses across the state.

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. The negotiations, over pending wages and pensions to the tune of Rs 1,650 crore, had failed.

All the unions, except those affiliated to AIADMK, called for a strike on Monday. However, irate bus drivers and association began the strike well in advance, leaving commuters in a lurch on Sunday. 

All major bus depots hit

In the crucial Koyambedu bus depot, passengers who arrived early in the morning are reportedly struggling for commute. While a few buses are plying to Tiruchy, there are no buses available to Madurai, Tirunelveli, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari and Karur. 

30 private buses are available for transport within Chennai, but they are allegedly using this opportunity to charge customers exorbitant rates. A trip to Egmore from Koyembedu is reportedly costing customers over Rs. 25, while a ride to Pallavaram is priced at Rs.20 – these tickets don’t cost more than Rs. 15 usually.

Of the 175 buses that were reportedly supposed to be plying before 8 am, only 30 left the depot. 

In Vadapalani, only 20% of the regular fleet of government buses are plying. Some commuters were reportedly waiting for hours to find a bus to Saidapet. Commuters have been forced to use share-autos and autorickshaws to reach their destinations.

The Saidapet bus depot, meanwhile, saw only 23 of the 90 buses meant to ply on roads actually function.

In the districts, commuters themselves were sparse in bus depots, following the call for a strike. In Madurai, the regular rush of passengers could not be seen in the bus depot. School buses were however deployed in the area, to ply commuters to local destinations. In addition to this, trainee drivers were given the reins of several buses. 

In Coimbatore, drivers in private schools and retired employees have been requested to help drive government buses.

Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur are seeing only 50% of the regular number of buses plying on roads.

Heavy police presence

Over 90,000 police personnel have been deployed across the state following the announcement of a strike. 15,000 police have been posted across Chennai alone.

Despite this miscreants across the state have vandalised 23 government buses, breaking the windshields and damaging the body of the buses.

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