CHENNAI: Three buses, all labelled 27C, crossed the deserted Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus between 3.45 and 4.15 pm on Sunday. At the entrance, however, was an indignant group of people huddled, either passengers from other parts of the State en-route to other places in the city or those who came from within Chennai wanting to reach other parts of the city, stranded, without any buses to take them to their destinations.
Most of them were from poor or lower middle-income families without enough money to look for other options such as auto-rickshaws that were charging double or even triple their normal rates.
“I want to reach Guduvancherry and I have been unable to leave the terminus for three hours now, without a single bus in sight. Who would have anticipated that the TNSTC staff would advance their strike by a day without telling us? Exploiting the situation, auto drivers are charging way too much,” said one angry commuter, mother of two children who reached CMBT from Villivakkam.
Some of the passengers had bought Rs 50 pass for hop-on-hop-off rides that entitles them to travel everywhere across the city for the day. When they approached the staff for refund, it was denied, they charged. “If they knew there was going to be a strike today, why should they sell us those tickets,” said another commuter from Thiruverkadu.
Just outside the terminus, passengers were seen arguing with auto drivers who demanded exorbitant fares to go to the nearest place. One commuter was asked to pay `100 for a ride to Tirumangalam, just a few minutes away. A group of them tried seeking the help of police personnel, only to be told that they need “to adjust their lives for a day.”