CHENNAI: The usual crowd was missing at transportation hubs on Monday, the day transport unions declared an indefinite strike in the city.
On the roads too, during the day, perhaps due to the experience on Sunday when commuters felt the disruption caused by the strike a day in advance, coupled with the moderate but incessant rain, the traffic was considerably less. According to Metropolitan Transport Corporation 80 percent of the fleet operated on Monday.
However, many commuters like C Aarthi, an MBA student, said she had to wait a considerable time at the bus stop to reach Loyola College, to take an exam. “When I left my home at Palavakkam at around 8.30 am, the bus to Thiruvanmayur had very few commuters. To reach Loyola College from Thiruvanmayur, however, I had to wait one hour to catch the 29 C. I could not take an auto because auto drivers were demanding an exorbitant amount,” she added.
According Saravananan, a commuter from the suburbs, there were no government buses in sight. “I waited in the bus stop for about one hour but could only see private bus drivers ruling the roost. Women passengers were forced to travel on footboard on buses from Tambaram to Chengalpet. Hapless passengers were fleeced by share-auto drivers. I managed to escape by taking the suburban train, which had fewer commuters than usual on Monday mornings,” he said.
MRTS, Rly rush Ends
With a majority of city’s MTC buses resuming plying, the suburban and MRTS stations across the city heaved a sigh of relief on Monday. It is to be noted that the sudden strike resorted to by some unions of the state transport department, on Sunday, had led to a lot of hardships to the commuters besides putting additional burden on the local trains.
“Majority of the buses are on the roads. It is raining, so people might have stayed away. Also it is the holiday period,” explained a railway staffer at Chennai Central, when asked about the relatively thin crowds at suburban stations on Monday.
Crowds on the Beach-Tambaram, Beach-Velachery stretch and at Chennai Central were ‘normal’. However, a senior Southern Railway official said that they were well-prepared for an unexpected rush.