The journey home to celebrate Christmas with family and friends turned sour for many in the city on Saturday. While at the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), the homebound travellers vented their ire over lack of facilities like a public address system or a helpdesk, at the Egmore Railway Station, it was more the lack of accommodation in train compartments.
Passengers at the CMBT complained that they had to run from pillar to post and several of them who had reserved tickets could not locate their buses.
The State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) did operate extra buses on Saturday, but the vehicles were not parked at their designated bays making it hard for passengers to wade through the throngs and locate them. Besides, there was the confusion between The State Express Transport Corporation and the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses that compounded their problems.
A group of 20 people came to the the State Express Transport Corporation office around 7.30 pm and complained that they could not locate their bus to Nagercoil, which was suppose to leave at 7 pm. An official explained that due to heavy traffic outside the terminus, the driver could not bring the bus in. The bus finally left for Nagercoil with the passengers at 7.40 pm.
The Tirunelveli division of the State Transport Corporation operated about 30 buses to Nagercoil and it had sent across a team of seven officials to supervise the operations here.
“Since this afternoon, 25 buses were sent to Nagercoil. Apart from this, buses were being operated to Thisayanvilai, Tirunelveli, Papanasam, Thoothukudi,” an official said.
He added that ten buses were on their way to Chennai and, if required, they would operate buses till late night to clear the rush.
The Egmore Railway Station too witnessed heavy rush on Saturday. Railway sources said that all the trains that departed from Egmore for the southern districts were full and people were vying with each other to occupy the unreserved coaches. Each unreserved compartment with a seating capacity of 90 was packed with twice the number of passengers, a railway security personnel observed. The rush was expected to continue on Sunday as well, he added.
However, not everyone was lucky to board the trains. Prabhakaran, from Tirunelveli, missed his train despite having a confirmed ticket. “Now, I am exploring possibilities of travelling by bus since the unreserved coaches are crowded,” he said.