CHENNAI: The sudden midnight fare hike by 95 per cent led to most commuters haggling with conductors and drivers of Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses. The shocker to bus commuters was that the minimum fare in deluxe buses increased to Rs 13 from Rs 7, while Express bus fare was fixed at Rs 9, against Rs 5 till Friday. The minimum fare in ordinary buses was hiked to Rs 5.
The bus terminus including at Broadway, Koyambedu CMBT, Saidapet, Perambur, Tambaram, Vadapalani, Tiruvanmiyur, Ayanavaram, Chromepet, Guindy and Ambattur witnessed altercations between commuters and conductors over ticket fares.
Thousands of regular commuters from various walks of life use Broadway bus terminus to reach their destinations, as the facility has connectivity to KK Nagar, T Nagar, West Saidapet, Tambaram, Tiruvanmiyur, Kovalam and Poonamallee.
A daily wage earner who works in Poonamallee said he had to spend Rs 50 additionally for transportation alone a day following the fare increase. “I don’t buy a monthly season ticket for Rs 1,000 as I get my wages only on a weekly basis. The ticket fare now has been increased from Rs 19 to Rs 37. Even if I take the bus for 10 days, I have to spend Rs 500 additionally, which is nearly impossible,” he added.
The ticket fares of one of the most popular routes, 21G, between Broadway and Vandalur has more than doubled. It was Rs 21 till Friday, but now it costs Rs 41.
The ordinary bus fare from Tiruvottriyur to Broadway (route no 56C) increased to Rs 11 from Rs 6. The route is mostly used by the economically weaker sections from North Chennai.
The expensive fare immensely affected commuters of popular buses of Chennai city.
Route no 23C between Ayanavaram and Tiruvanmiyur and Besant Nagar and 29C from Perambur to Tiruvanmiyur are popular among college students.
Ninety per cent of buses on both routes are deluxe buses. The bus fare from Ayanavaram to Tiruvanmiyur rose from Rs 17 to Rs 33. Route 29C covers colleges and hospitals, including KMC, Stella Maris College, WCC, Loyola College (at College road), Jain College, Dr. MGR-Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women and Music College. The ticket fare on the route has also doubled.
With a fleet capacity of 3,200 buses, MTC carries about 45 lakh passengers a day in Chennai city and parts of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. The buses are operated in 833 routes from 33 depots. MTC usually earns Rs 2.38 crore to Rs 2.53 crore as fares a day.
While officials of MTC claim that more than 50 per cent of the fleet are operated on ordinary fares, it is learnt that less than 25 per cent of ordinary buses are operated in the city. This means the ticket fares will affect nearly 75 per cent of bus commuters.
Commuters who travel short distances will also be hit. According to MTC sources, Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore and neighbouring areas of the city have the highest number of short- distance travellers. So far, they were paying Rs 3 to Rs 7 as minimum fares for short distance travel, which includes between Central - Parrys, Central - Egmore, Central - Omandurar Multi Super Specialty Hospital, TVS - LIC, LIC - Egmore and Saidapet - Guindy. Now, they will have to pay Rs 5 to Rs 13 on these routes.
When compared with other parts of city, commuters of IT corridor who are deprived of train facility will be the worst affected. Beyond Velachery, there is no MRTS connectivity. Commuters from Sholinganallur, Thorapakkam, Kovalam and Thiruporur have to pay excess fare as they don’t have any other mode of transport.
“Even if the ticket fares are increased to Rs 50 a person, we have to buy as there is no other mode of transportation for us,” said K Kannan, a housekeeping staff at Navalur.
3,200 buses, 45 lakh users
With a fleet capacity of 3,200 buses, MTC carries about 45 lakh passengers a day in Chennai city and parts of Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts. The buses are operated in 833 routes from 33 depots. MTC usually earns `2.38 crore to `2.53 crore as fares