CHENNAI: MTC’s loss was Southern Railway’s gain. With most buses non-operational on Sunday, all trains on the MRTS and suburban routes were running packed to the brim right from early Sunday morning up to late evening, with most stations registering up to four times the ticket sales as compared to a normal Sunday.
The rush was evident at important places close to bus terminus and transit points like Guindy, Mambalam, Thiruvanmiyur and Chennai Central and Egmore.
The Thiruvanmiyur MRTS station especially saw serpentine queues at the ticket counters, a rarity on the MRTS route, even as the lone commercial staffer grappled with the unprecedented rush.
The Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVM) were put to good use at stations where additional commercial department staff were unavailable to man the counters to meet the rush.
“With the buses being on strike, the people on the route covered by the MRTS depended on it completely. Moreover, the number of services is also lower on Sunday, which added to the rush,” said a railway official.
At Beach station, an additional ticket counter was opened to handle the rush.
Like most Sundays, many commuters were travelling to shop at T Nagar and Parrys, relax at the Beach, catch a movie at a theatre or to take a train at Central/Egmore.
A few were out to finish their shopping as this was the last Sunday before the New Year.
“We left early in the morning for our family outing. If we had known about the bus strike, we wouldn’t have left the house,” said a middle aged couple at Thiruvanmiyur.
“We didn’t know about the strike and were waiting for half an hour at the Mandaiveli bus stand to go to Shanti theatre.
“Only after a driver informed us, we came to the station,” said 16-year-old S Suraj.