THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : Tourists and commuters in the city were left in the lurch following the two-day strike called by the Joint Trade Union Council. According to tourists, lack of public transport put a dent to travel plans in the city. As KSRTC buses and several autorickshaws kept off the roads, tourists had to depend on private vehicles. Monika Chessi, a tourist from Italy, who faced difficulty after being forced to remain at the Thampanoor railway station said the unavailability of taxis was a major issue. "It is my first visit to India.
I went sightseeing at Varkala, Kovalam and other tourist destinations in the capital. The strike was unexpected. I have very limited days left to return. Taxi drivers are making use of the occasion and are charging exorbitant rates. On Wednesday, I wanted to go to Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams at Neyyar and they asked for Rs 2,500 which double the usual rates," said Monika. A trip in Uber showed only Rs 798.
According to railway officials at the Thampanoor railway station, two trains on Wednesday morning were delayed due to picketing. "Train number 17229- Sabari Express was delayed for 29 minutes and Venad Express, Train number 16302 got late by 39 minutes. People waited for long, otherwise, all went normally like a usual day," informed R Sajid, station master.
A group of people who arrived from Rajasthan for a ten-day trip were stuck as there were fewer transportation facilities available in the city. "Thiruvananthapuram, our last destination did not go well as we planned. We reached the railway station around 7 am in the morning on Wednesday. We wanted to go to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple as it was planned as the first destination on our trip list.
Unfortunately, there were no autos or taxis available at that time. We had to walk down the street till we reached the temple. We changed our plans and instead took a train to Kanyakumari," said R Rajesh, a tourist. Police vehicles stationed outside the Thampanoor railway station offered free rides to people heading to Medical College Hospital and Regional Cancer Centre, Ulloor. Private vehicle owner K A Vinod offered six vehicles for medical trips to RCC and Medical College.
"I have been doing this for the past ten years. I don't want people who are already ailing deal with unnecessary stress," said Vinod. The KSRTC bus stand, however, remained deserted. According to the station master of KSRTC, a few of the Sabarimala special service buses to Pamba were cancelled due to lack of Ayyappa pilgrims.