Gearing up for the festival season, the Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced that it will operate over 14,000 special buses within the state for the Deepavali festival, starting November 11. This is, however, 4000 less than last year's number.
Ahead of the festival, the Tamil Nadu state transport department has made arrangements to operate about 9,510 buses from Chennai in addition to 5,247 specials from the districts for a total of 14,757 buses from November 11 to 13.
Inter-state buses from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka will not ply until further notice. This is in exception to Puducherry. Inter-state travellers can travel to the state via trains and flights.
Post the festival of lights, the department has made arrangements to operate 16,026 specials from November 15 to 18. State Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar told reporters in Chennai that as in previous years, buses will be operated from five places in Chennai. Special link buses will be sent from the Dr MGR bus terminus in Koyambedu to the other four bus termini. A total of 13 booking counters have been set up for the occasion at Koyambedu, Tambaram MEPZ and Poonamallee, the minister added.
Booking can be done through websites including www.tnstc.in, tnstc official app, www.redbus.in, www.paytm.com, www.busindia.com. "Already, 27,000 people have made bookings for the specials in advance this time. We expect over five lakh people to travel during this festival season," Vijayabaskar said.
As a result of several firms, especially IT companies resorting to work from home culture, and with several educational institutions facing extended closure due to lockdown, the department has decided to operate 14,757 specials for the Deepavali festival this year as against the 18,547 in 2019, the minister added. Last year about 6.70 lakh people had availed the services.
Vijayabhaskar, who earlier held a meeting with senior transport officials including Principal Secretary Dharmendra Pratap Yadav, said the department had also made arrangements to operate 16,026 buses to enable the people return to Chennai and other places within the state for four days.
(With inputs from PTI)