Nine Lakh Chennai MTC commuters hit as daily, weekly passes scrapped

Workers, owners of industries, shops in commercial areas put at disadvantage; single-route monthly pass fare increased by `120 to `160.

Published: 08th February 2018 02:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th February 2018 05:58 AM   |  A+A-

Commuters waiting at counter to avail various types of MTC monthly pass at Broadway bus stand on Wednesday | Martin Louis

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The decision of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) to scrap the daily and weekly bus passes and increase price of the single route monthly passes has severely hit about nine lakh commuters in the city. Particularly, workers and owners of small-scale industries and shops in commercial areas of the city are put at disadvantage as they mostly depend on the daily and weekly MTC bus passes.

After 18 days, the MTC has restored the sale of Rs 1,000 monthly passes, which allow commuters an unlimited travel in buses. While the fare of single-route monthly season bus pass has increased by Rs 120 to Rs 160 a month, weekly and daily passes sold at Rs 300 and Rs 50 respectively were withdrawn, forcing the commuters to buy hiked ticket fares for transportation.

The one-day passes enabled the commuters to travel anywhere in MTC buses within the city and neighbouring districts between 6 am to 10 pm, while the weekly passes costing Rs 300 allowed the commuters to transport from Monday to Sunday. So far, these passes have benefited lakhs of daily wage workers and those employed in small shops in Chennai city. The MTC move has now put lakhs of such commuters to hardship as they are now forced to spend extra money for their transportation.

The workers and other commuters employed in small-scale companies and shops in Broadway, Kodambakkam, Vadapalani, T Nagar, Kellys, Chintadripet, Egmore, Chetpet, Purasavalkam, Manali, Thiruvotriyur, Korukkupet, Kannaginagar, Semmanchery and Perungudi are worst affected. Many workers have seen cut in their wages as their employers have reduced their work.

S Sabesh of Manali, who regularly travels to carton box transport company in Broadway, said that after delivering materials, they collect payment from companies in Poonamallee, Ambattur and Perungudi. “We used to travel four to five days a week, mostly with the weekly passes or daily passes. After the ticket fare hiked, the owner refused to pay Rs 150 additionally for bus fare and asked us to go for trips once a week. I have lost wages for three days in January as I was not engaged in the collection. Now I have to buy Rs 1,000 bus pass, even though I only spent Rs 500 a month earlier,” he said.

The condition of lakhs of daily wage workers is no different. Many small companies and shop owners, who used to spend a maximum of Rs 500 for engaging their workers for different areas, are now forced to buy Rs 1,000 monthly passes.

S Selvaganapathy, owner of a printing press in Purasavalkam, said that money transaction is still unregulated in small shops. “We have to travel to several places at least five to 10 days a month. There are times when we won’t travel and engage our workers in some other job. Now, it costs Rs 300 for three days to travel in long distance buses. I have to either buy Rs 1,000 pass or pay Rs 100 for a day,” he said.
He added that a shop with two workers has to spend Rs 1,400 additionally, reducing wages of workers, he said.

According to MTC records, nearly nine lakh to 10 lakh commuters availed of the daily, weekly and single-route bus passes in Chennai a day.

In addition to the cancellation of daily and weekly passes, the minimum monthly pass fare for single routes has been increased to Rs 320 from Rs 240 for four stages and the maximum fare rose to Rs 670 from Rs 510 for 21 to 23 stages in MTC buses.

For travelling from Perambur to Thiruvanmiyur, which has 13 stages, the monthly pass rate has increased from Rs 410 to Rs 540. Similarly, the monthly bus pass fare from Broadway to Poonamallee, which has 19 stages, has seen a surge from Rs 480 to Rs 630.

R Mohan of Thiruvanmiyur said the MTC was indirectly forcing the single route monthly pass-holders and weekly pass commuters to buy Rs 1,000 monthly pass. “The long-distance travel to Tambaram and Chromepet from T Nagar costs Rs 630. Instead, by paying Rs 370 more, a commuter can travel anywhere in the city for 30 days. It’s much worse than ticket fare hike,” he added.

Employees worst affected by withdrawal
While the fare of single-route monthly season bus pass has increased by `120 to `160 a month, weekly and daily passes sold at `300 and `50 respectively were withdrawn, forcing the commuters to buy hiked ticket fares for transportation
After 18 days, the MTC has restored the sale of `1,000 monthly passes, which allow commuters an unlimited travel in buses
The workers and other commuters employed in small-scale companies and shops in Broadway, Kodambakkam, Vadapalani, T Nagar, Kellys, Chintadripet, Egmore, Chetpet, Purasavalkam, Manali, Thiruvotriyur, Korukkupet, Kannaginagar, Semmanchery and Perungudi are worst affected
Many small companies and shop owners, who used to spend a maximum of `500 for engaging their workers for different areas, are now forced to buy `1,000 monthly passes
According to MTC records, nearly nine lakh to 10 lakh commuters availed of the daily, weekly and single-route bus passes in Chennai a day

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