Voters return, but struggle for hours to reach home from Kilambakkam

Many spent Rs 600-Rs 800 on cabs due to shortage of buses to North Chennai from KCBT
File picture of the Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus in Kilambakkam
File picture of the Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus in KilambakkamExpress

CHENNAI: Residents of North Chennai, who returned from their native places on Monday, spent a harrowing three to four hours to reach their homes from the Kalaignar Centenary Bus Terminus (KCBT) in Kilambakkam due to inadequate bus connectivity. While many of the people spent Rs 600 to Rs 800 on cabs to reach Thiruvottiyur, Ennore, Periyar Nagar, Minjur, Manali, or other areas, the others had to change at least two buses, all the while dealing with heavy luggage.

Despite the KCBT being in operation for almost four months, its deficient access to North Chennai areas, and the inadequate number of TNSTC and SETC buses from Madhavaram bus terminus add to the woes of commuters. However, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) officials maintained that they had arranged 600 additional trips from KCBT on Monday to facilitate those returning to the city.

“Introducing direct bus services from KCBT to North Chennai will not be feasible, and the commuters will have to change buses either from CMBT or another junction. The city buses can be effectively utilised only for short distances and introducing these services on routes exceeding 40 to 50 km would bring down their utility, thereby impacting the operation. Considering the traffic situation, we can only manage a maximum of four to five trips daily from KCBT to North Chennai,” a senior MTC official told TNIE.

However, the same bus can undertake 10 to 12 trips daily to CMBT or Guindy, serving a larger number of commuters. Furthermore, the MTC officials said buses leave for KCBT from CMBT every 4-5 minutes. “To provide faster connectivity, buses were introduced from CMBT to KCBT (route no. 104C cut) on Chennai bypass with limited stoppages,” added the official.

K Raja Rajan, a resident of Thiruvottiyur, said, “I arrived at KCBT around 8 am by an SETC bus. However, I reached my home situated near Thiruvottiyur bus stand only around 11.30 am. I changed buses at least three times. It seems the KCBT was designed keeping the southern suburban areas in mind.”

A large number of people from the southern and central districts reside in North Chennai, said N Jayan Krishnan from Manali New Town. “After the terminus was relocated from CMBT, I have resorted to train travel. However, I opted for a bus on Monday and ended up paying `800 for a cab ride home. Until the metro services commence from Madhavaram, the MTC services to North Chennai should be enhanced,” he added.

Currently, the MTC operates 300 buses from KCBT to different destinations and 202 buses pass through the terminus. Over 4,100 trips are made from KCBT daily. The MTC official added, “Direct buses from KCBT to MKB Nagar, MMBT, Red Hills, and Kannadasan Nagar were available. However, these services have limited patronage. The crowd at KCBT on Monday was noticeably higher than what it used to be during the Pongal festival.”

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