With no place to sit and in the absence of a time-table, passengers appear lost

The Central Bus Stand in the heart of the city was expanded by the Tiruchi Corporation a few years ago, much to the delight of the Tiruchiites. The corporation acquired adjoining railway lands for constructing a spacious bus stand, which has certainly come in a big way in reducing congestion of vehicles.

The execution of this project enabled the free flow of traffic inside the bus stand bringing much relief to the travelling public. Two main platforms were extended by about 45 metres to raise the number of bus bays to 77 from 55.

However, lack of proper seating arrangements, hoardings displaying timings of long distance buses, and medical facilities have been causing much hardship to the people. These facilities are available in the bus stands even in smaller towns compared to Tiruchi and people have been demanding the same in the Central Bus Stand also.

Though the lengthy and spacious main platforms are adequate enough to accommodate the crowd even during the festival and peak holiday seasons, it is the absence of proper seating arrangements which is worrying the commuters. They point out that the new bus stand at Tirunelveli and the Mattuthavani bus stand in Madurai, have seating arrangements enabling the people to take rest while waiting for the buses. Even the new bus stand in Thanjavur has well laid out chairs on the main platform.

A cross section of the commuters point out that the Bangalore Majestic bus stand is the best example. The air-conditioned pay-and-use waiting hall here has been hailed by the regular visitors to Bangalore. The Tiruchi junction too has a pay-and -use AC waiting hall, both on platform number one and near the current ticket booking hall, which have been well utilised by the people.

The Corporation should take the initiative of setting up adequate seating arrangements atleast on the main platforms. Air-conditioned waiting halls should also be there and it will improve the beauty of the bus stand and also will augment revenue of the corporation, says L. Muthuraman, a consumer activist.

Any visitor to the new bus stand at Tirunelveli will be surprised to see a medical room for treating the people at any emergency. Such a facility is available in the Chennai Central Railway Station too. Tiruchi city, due to its strategic location, attract a large number of floating population round the year. The presence of medical facilities both at Tiruchi Railway Junction and Central bus stand will be of immense help to the people, says Layaq Ali, a former officer of a private firm. With Tiruchi being a major medical centre, it will not be difficult for the corporation to create this facility, he adds.

The Corporation also constructed a multi-storeyed two-wheeler parking lot inside the bus stand. But this project could not cater to the ever increasing volume of two-wheelers. This parking lot always overflows and on many occasions, the vehicle owners have to opt for the parking lots situated nearby as the gates here are closed, as it could not accommodate more vehicles.

More than anything else, there is a dire need for more parking lots in the bus stand. People are forced to park their two-wheelers on the roadside and on the pavements in the vicinity of the bus stand, as the parking lot could not hold more vehicles, and this leads to traffic congestion in the roads leading to Central Bus Stand and the Railway Junction.