CHENNAI: Twelve-year-old Akanksha was shocked as she attempted to board a crowded 17 D route Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) bus at Ashok Nagar on Saturday. She was shooed away by a few passengers citing the crowd inside, but the Conductor came to her rescue.
“We are here to help people and not to shoo them away in times of need, especially now,” said the conductor, who was visibly annoyed by the reaction of some commuters. “The ones not comfortable can leave the bus. We will continue to take in as many as we can accommodate,” he said to the surprise of the teen who has never come across such a courteous conductor.
Like her, thousands of passengers had unusual experiences in MTC fleets throughout the city with the state government deciding to offer free trips. People can travel without paying any fare till December 8. “This is for the first time that we have seen such an attitude from any bus conductor, else they are all grumpy and firing at everyone,” said S Rohini, another passenger in the bus.
Meanwhile, a senior citizen boarded the bus at Nungambakkam, unaware of the free ride. When he reached out to the conductor seeking a ticket by offering a `10 note, the conductor returned it saying, “Save this for yourself as the rides are all free today. You can go anywhere and everywhere around the city.”
Meanwhile, MTC increased its fleet strength hitting the road on Saturday. “We have operated 90 per cent of our fleet. Steps are being taken to run buses to as many places as we can,” an MTC official said.