Social distancing forgotten as thousands leave Chennai

50% cap flouted as people throng bus and train termini following announcement of curbs, many rural students who just returned from holidays forced to go home again

Published: 07th January 2022 06:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th January 2022 04:22 PM   |  A+A-

People rush to board buses at Perungalathur on Thursday | Ashwin Prasath

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A day after the government imposed night curfew and increased restrictions, buses and trains recorded increased patronage on Thursday. Social distancing went for a toss as passengers, including students, made a beeline to bus and train stations after colleges were closed till January 20.

A transport official from CMBT said, “Hours after the government declared holiday for colleges till January 20, occupancy levels in buses bound to Tiruchy, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Madurai and Tirunelveli districts went up. All Tiruchy-bound buses carried passengers to full capacity.”

“While special buses for Pongal are planned to be operated from January 11 onwards, thousands thronged bus terminals to leave in advance, due to which occupancy levels could not be restricted to 50 per cent,” said another transport official.

Many travellers with whom TNIE interacted at CMBT expressed anxiety over increasing Covid-19 cases. S Rajamannar, a native of Tiruchy, said at least three persons at his apartment in Aynavaram tested positive. “Samples were collected from many residents. If more test positive my street would be declared a containment zone and I will not be able to go home for Pongal.”

E Sai Prasad, an engineering student from Kallakuruchi, said he decided to leave the city owing to uncertainty over functioning of hostels and hotels. “I faced a lot of hardship during the second wave and my family insisted I leave Chennai.”

A transport official said, “As of now, it is practically impossible to comply with the 50 per cent seating restrictions. We will increase our services depending on the patronage.”

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