Overcrowded buses and harried passengers, scenes one would expect on a post-Deepavali day at the Central Bus Stand, however, were missing this time around. Everything seemed so orderly on Sunday.
Police personnel looked at ease in regulating traffic, particularly movement of buses entering and leaving the bus stand. Setting up of temporary bus stands at three places in the city, perhaps, had brought in much relief for the traffic police.
Buses bound for Pudukottai and Sivaganga proceeded from Khadi Kraft junction, those for Madurai from K.A.P.Viswanatham Medical College at Periamilaguparai, and those bound for Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Kumbakonam, and Karaikal from the second entrance at the Railway Junction.
“All these arrangements were aimed at facilitating free movement of a large number of buses and special buses operated from Tiruchi to Chennai post-Deepavali ,” said traffic police personnel.
Though mostly Chennai-bound buses were operated from Central Bus Stand, a small number of Coimbatore-bound buses too were parked at the bus stand.
An estimated 75 to 80 buses were parked at any given time at the bus stand and all of them for Chennai.
The arrangements, though a welcome measure, had troubled passengers carrying children and large baggage. The worst hit were the passengers bound for Madurai. They had to go from Central Bus Stand to the temporary bus stand at Periamilaguparai.
“We did not know that the bus stand for Madurai had been temporarily shifted to the new venue. We had come with a large baggage and had to incur additional expenditure for reaching the temporary bus stand by an autorickshaw,” said Pandi of Madurai.
Police, through public address system, explained the location of temporary bus stands. A watchtower was also set up to keep a close vigil on anti-socials .
Although temporary bus stands have been set up, special buses were not operated from these bus stands to carry passengers to the Central Bus Stand to help them catch local buses operated as usual from the bus stand.
More than the passengers catching buses leaving Tiruchi, it is those visiting the city who were put to hardship. Passengers coming from Thanjavur were taken by surprise when the service was terminated at the Railway Junction.
With city bus services not immediately available, they were seen stranded in the area . A cross section of crew members and bus passengers said that temporary toilets should have been set up at these places to benefit passengers, particularly the aged and diabetic. Makeshift shelters would have helped shade themselves from the scorching sun. Many crew members were seen resorting to open defecation at the junction area.
The temporary bus stands, however, have justified the need for setting up satellite bus stands in the city, said R.Manavalan, a resident of Karumandapam.