As the Tamil festival of Pongal is fast approaching, the state government, on Thursday, announced that it will operate 24,708 special buses to manage the rush of passengers travelling to their native towns for the harvest festival.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday after an inauguration ceremony at the Egmore Childrenâ€™s hospital, transport minister MR Vijayabaskar said that boarding points will be set up at Madhavaram, Tambaram, Poonamallee and KK Nagar for these buses apart from Koyambedu. Around 14,000 buses will be operated from Koyambedu whereas the remaining buses will be operated from the other boarding points mentioned above.
For the first time, the state government is all set to operate sleeper buses as a part of the long distance bus fleet, the minister said. â€śWe are making more ultra-deluxe buses air conditioned, which will bring down the average price of the AC bus tickets in the private sector as well,â€ť he said. He also added that the efficient working of the transport department including the traffic police was evident during Deepavali season in which more than 7 lakh passengers benefited by the bus facilities provided by the state government.
Adding that these buses will be operated between January 11 and 14, the minister stated that special reservation counters for bus tickets would be in place in Koyambedu from January 9.
The arrangements for people returning from their native after the festival, however, has not been decided. The minister said that a meeting has been scheduled for January 2 to discuss the return travel arrangements after Pongal.
The minister also said that new electric buses and BS6 buses will soon be supplied to the government of Tamil Nadu since Chennai was a part of the C40 network of cities which undertake climate actions to ensure a sustainable future. The state transport department operated around 20,000 special buses during Deepavali festival season to various districts in Tamil Nadu.