CHENNAI: Two days ahead of the Pongal vacation, the Mofussil Bus Terminus at Koyambedu was bereft of activity. Most buses were running only with 20-30 per cent occupancy on Monday morning, said drivers, conductors and other Transport department staff.
“Normally, only passengers travelling to Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Nagercoil leave this early as the travel time is around 15 hours. Those going to places of shorter distance like Madurai or Trichy will leave a day before the festival.” said a staffer at one of the many special computerised booking counters at the terminus.
However, tickets for Madurai on Monday as well as on Tuesday night were unavailable as Sajit and Rohit, two young students found out.
The police, however, are in all readiness to put their best foot forward during a typical rush time.
A total of 90 personnel, including six inspectors, will be on duty every shift, on the lookout for pocket pickers and chain snatchers. Each of the six main platforms is under the CCTV surveillance and is being monitored from a control room. “Snatching and pick-pocketing cases are high during festival time. So, we are keeping a close watch at the platforms,” another policeman said.
The transport department too has deployed its officials at CMBT to micro-manage the fleet of buses as well as assist to commuters by making regular announcements. “I’ll be working till late night on January 14 and will reach home only on the day of Pongal,” an official said.