Three years on, suspension of Pullambadi-Chennai TNSTC bus services yet to be lifted
Before the pandemic, one bus used to ply daily from Chennai to Pullambadi and another on the opposite route. However, the service was suspended during the lockdown.
TIRUCHY: Chennai didn't seem this far off before the pandemic outbreak for residents of Pullambadi town panchayat. It has been over three years since the daily bus services by TNSTC, shuttling back and forth Chennai and the town, were suspended in the wake of the pandemic. Before the pandemic, one bus used to ply daily from Chennai to Pullambadi and another on the opposite route. However, the service was suspended during the lockdown.
Despite petitioning several times with the TNSTC, officials have not lifted the suspension and resumed the service, say residents, who rued over having to reach Lalgudi or Tiruchy to board a direct bus to Chennai. Ramachandran K, a resident of Pullambadi, told TNIE, "The suspension of the bus service has affected our everyday lives. The bus to Chennai used to leave by 9 p.m. and reach the destination at 5 a.m. The buses plying from Chennai to Pullambadi used to follow a similar schedule. Almost all the buses bustled with commuters. On weekends, the seats would be occupied throughout the journey. Commuters to Chennai are now forced to depend on direct buses from Lalgudi or Tiruchy."
According to another commuter, residents who worked in Chennai relied on bus services at night. "Even a toddler would know the exact timings of the buses to Chennai from here," he recalled. "Now, we have to start early in order to reach Lalgudi or Tiruchy, which respectively lie 40 minutes and one hour away." As more and more people traverse miles for work, adequate modes of transport become a necessity, said residents of Pullambadi, who urged for the resumption of the suspended bus service to Chennai.
"The bus service used to ply through Ariyalur, saving time by at least half an hour or 40 minutes," they say. When contacted, a district-level higher officer of the TNSTC told TNIE, "We stopped the bus service due to dwindling footfall. We are aware of the issue but nothing can be done for now. However, as we receive new buses and drivers through the government we would prioritise the place and resume the service."