CHENNAI: The State government is now planning to allow the operation of public transport between districts. The government recently requested the railways to resume trains to various places outside Chennai. The Southern Railway has proposed to resume non-AC services in four routes -- Coimbatore - Mayiladuturai, Villupuram - Madurai, Tiruchchirapalli - Nagercoil and Katpadi - Coimbatore.
“Approval has been sought from the railway board to resume services in these sections. The date of commencement will be notified once the approval comes,” said a railway official. The regular trains in these routes will resume services, except that Vaigai and Coimbatore Intercity express trains that run from Madurai and Coimbatore to Chennai will now be short-terminated at Villupuram and Katpadi.
While extending the lockdown till May 31, the government allowed intra-district travel in 25 districts - which means people can only travel within their respective districts where they reside. “If the government has decided to allow trains outside Chennai, it can be interpreted as a relaxation of inter-district travel. The relaxation may kick in after May 31,” said a State government official.
If the trains are allowed, then government and private buses also will expect to be allowed to operate in select routes. A senior transport official said, “Standard Operating Procedure for bus operation had been issued. Since the buses are going to get operated with 50 per cent capacity, either ticket fares are to be doubled or the government should compensate for the revenue loss.”
Presently, TNSTC (Villupuram division) operates 49 mofussil buses to ferry government employees. “On an average a mofussil bus should collect Rs 48 per km to meet the operational expenses, but we earn only Rs 26 per km. The government has agreed to pay the rest,” added the official. Private bus operators have already announced that a 100 per cent hike in far is in order.