PERAMBALUR: With lack of bus availability during peak hours, school and college students are seen travelling on the footboard of buses at Ponnagaram-Perambalur Old Bus Stand.
More than 200 people, including students, from Ponnagaram, Namiyur, Murugankudi, Kudikadu, Keezhapuliyur, Sirukudal and Sengunam villages regularly visit Perambalur for work, school and college in bus.
A government bus (3b) is the only one plying on the route connecting Ponnagaram to Perambalur Palai bus stand during the peak hours in morning and evening. Many are forced to board this bus as there is no other bus at the peak hours, however, due to unavailability of seats, people crowd over the footboard.
The public have complain many a times that the buses are very less in number in routes leading to Perambalur.
Two weeks ago, the residents submitted a petition to Perambalur bus depot and Backward Classes Welfare Minister SS Sivasankar to run additional buses on this route.
A 16-year-old student from Keezhapuliyur told The New Indian Express, "This is the only bus (3b) that runs on this route during school and college time. Like us, people who go to work also travel on the same bus. We are forced to travel on footboards because the seats are always full. We know that it is dangerous, but we do not have enough buses to reach school on time."
On Monday, the government bus driver reportedly had to stop the bus for a while near Sengunam due to the large crowd aboard, and continued after the depot officials pacified him.
A resident of Sirukudal, R Keerthivasan, said, "I go to work every day on a crowded bus. The students come in huge crowds and hang from the bus stairs. They have no regard for their safety. This risky travel leads to daily arguments between the conductor and the students. The district administration should immediately act to avoid any mishap."
Another resident, K Kalairaja, said, "Not only in the morning travel but the same situation continues during the evening hours as well. If they miss the evening bus, they have to wait two hours in the Perambalur new bus stand to catch the next bus. Thus, everyone are willing to travel in such dangerous circumstances."
When The New Indian Express contacted, Perambalur Depot Branch Manager Raja said, "I know that there is no issue with this route. We are operating enough buses to the required place. There is no need for an additional bus for students."