G. Ayyanathan was pleasantly surprised when he was able to book his tickets to Mannarkudi in just about 10 minutes at Chennai Moffusil Bus Terminus (CMBT) on Friday morning.

Last year, when he had tried to book tickets some days before Pongal, he spent an hour running between counters. The reason for this transformation is the 16 new counters that have been opened on the CMBT premises. 11 of them are in the complex and five outside.

“Last year, the counters were at different locations and it was tough to identify the one I had to approach for booking tickets to Mannarkudi. In the new counters, the commuters can book tickets to any district,” said Mr. Ayyanathan. The counters were formally inaugurated by the State Transport Minister V. Senthil Balaji on Friday morning. “The counters will remain here permanently. But all the 16 won’t function throughout the year; only five will,” said the minister.

S. Usha Narayanan, who was headed to Kanyakumari to spend the Pongal break with her mother, said the system would help reduce the waiting time.

Pongal is usually an extremely busy time for the State Express Transport Corporation (SETC). 15,101 tickets were booked last year and revenue of Rs. 51 lakh was earned by the State transport corporation. This year, 28,379 tickets were booked till Friday and Rs. 93 lakh was earned. “No one should come to the terminus and leave without tickets. There will be no shortage of buses,” the Minister said.

150 transport department personnel have been deployed in the terminus to help passengers reach the bus bays in time. “The special buses will be parked in an 800 acre ground behind the CMBT,” said the minister.

Mobile toilets and rest rooms have been arranged for drivers. “A 700-metre stretch called the B-Road has been repaired to ensure better connectivity to Poonamalee High Road. This will reduce congestion on the GST Road,” said the Minister.