CHENNAI: While a large part of the city’s peak time road-users stood stranded for hours as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh passed through, a vast number chose to fall back on other modes of transport to avoid the ‘Prime Ministerial’ logjam. Suburban trains, for instance, saw at least a doubling of commuters.
The MRTS, which has been a case study in low passenger footfalls since it opened, has seen increased patronage ever since the government hiked bus fares.
However, Monday was a different ball game all together on the ‘flying trains’. While footfall at the Beach and Thiruvanmiyur stations rose marginally in the morning, the Thirumailai station recorded a 100 per cent increase in ticket sales, said S Anantharaman, Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai Division.
In the morning alone, more than 2,000 tickets were sold at the Thirumayilai station, as against the usual 1,000. An additional counter was opened to handle the extra-rush, he said.
The Prime Minister’s convoy left a number of people with no other option but to walk. But to their consternation, the Prime Minister’s route was not open even to pedestrians.
Sam Paul, a research scholar, had managed to cross Velachery in his bid to get to Anna University, when the police stopped him outside Raj Bhavan, “We were asked not to cross the road for 40 minutes until the PM’s entourage passed,” he complained wryly.
The lone silver lining in other otherwise dark cloud of the Prime Minister’s passing entourage was the fact that police officials made way for ambulances caught in the logjam, and that too because of prior contingency planning with the cops.