In Madurai region, the fare collection stood at Rs 13.06 crore

The state-run TNSTC (Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation) has reported an increase in its revenue from fare collection before and after the Pongal festival in the southern districts.

Despite close to 300 buses in the region being impounded by various courts for not complying with issuance of compensation to accident victims, the TNSTC had reported close to a Rs one crore increase in its revenue than the corresponding last season.

According to a senior TNSTC official, to clear extra rush, the Corporation had made elaborate arrangements and planned the requirement well in advance. By pressing in spare vehicles from different depots and by operating almost round-the-clock on the eve of Pongal from various destinations, the public were ensured mobility.

The southern district, which comprises Madurai, Virudhunagar, Dindigul, Tirunelveli and Nagercoil regions had operated 4,480 buses from January 12 to 16.

In Madurai region, the fare collection stood at Rs 13.06 crore, which was higher by Rs 90 lakh than the previous Pongal festival period, which netted Rs 12.16 crore. However, the collection was not encouraging from Tirunelveli and Nagercoil regions as the Corporation had reported a marginal increase of just Rs 13,000. The five day collection during the current year was Rs 8.73 crore, while it was Rs 8.60 crore during corresponding last Pongal season, the official added.

Buses impounded

The official said that the revenue from the Pongal season would have actually been higher this year but following court directive, as many as 290 buses from Madurai and Tirunelveli regions were impounded since the Corporation had not settled claims/compensation to accident victims. Of course, the cases were pending at various stages now; he clarified and refused to elaborate.

Despite limitations, the official said that overall coordination of officers and field supervisors facilitated in ensuring that the special buses were operated thus reaping in productivity. During this time, reservation and non-reservation services were operated and it was welcomed by the commuters.

Chennai focus

However, trade union office-bearers from CITU said that the Corporation had given undue importance to Chennai and deployed large number of buses to the headquarters. This affected many routes in southern districts. Further, by focussing on longer stretches, the shorter destinations were operated by private operators, who collected fancy fares utilising the season, they alleged.

When contacted, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation Staff Federation state treasurer S. Sampath said that in the lines of Karnataka, the Tamil Nadu government may consider passenger linked insurance which would enable easy settlement of compensation to the accident victims/their legal heirs. Thus detention of buses or impounding of vehicles could be prevented.

Moreover, it would also pave way for covering more routes on regular days, which were now hampered due to court directives.

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