VISAKHAPATNAM:It is a daily grind for the students to risk their lives to attend classes. With officials being negligent over the issue for years, the upcoming Smart City doesn’t have enough buses during the peak hours. The students are found travelling footboard precariously on crowded city buses.
N Seshagiri, a private transport employee and resident of Maddilapalem, feels restless till his 20-year-old son N Sundar, a student of Raghu College of Engineering, reaches his campus and texts him a message. The only reason for the man’s tension is that his son travels footboard. “Well, the other options are even worse. Travelling by packed auto-rickshaws is better than the overloaded APSRTC buses. Giving him a motor-cycle is no better option. We know the mindset of the youngsters when they have a bike,” says Seshagiri, waiting at Maddilapalem bus depot.
With majority of colleges located on the PM Palem-Tagarapuvalasa Junction stretch, hundreds of students travel footboard and hang onto buses for lack of required number of buses at the peak hours of 7 am to 10 am and 4 pm to 6 pm. Some buses start from Gajuwaka including buses on the 111 route, while many start from the Dwaraka RTC Complex.
The buses from the RTC Complex on the routes 999 (RTC Complex to Bheemili) and 222 (RTC Complex to Tagarapuvalasa) have huge rush and are packed at the terminus itself, forcing students travel footboard. While some travel by auto-rickshaws and maxi cabs, students with bus passes are forced to go by the packed buses.
“This seems like a never ending issue. We are habituated to travel footboard due to lack of required number of buses. Even girls stand near the footboard,” said Anudeep, a student from Pydah College of Engineering.
With gradual increase in the number of educational institutions, there is proportionate increase in students from neighbouring districts. But even after years, there is no major increase in the number of buses in peak hours, except launching buses on the 111 route.
Vizag APSRTC regional manager G Sudesh Kumar said, “Noticing the issue, we have recently introduced 10 buses on the 111 route (Ukkunagaram to Anandapuram). We appeal to students to bring to our notice the need for more buses, so that we could discuss and make arrangements as we have to take into consideration other groups like employees.”