In areas that constituted erstwhile Corporation's limits
As many as 642 modern bus shelters are to be installed by Chennai Corporation by April end in areas that constituted its previous limits.
“We will call for bids in a week. In the previous tenders, we did not get proper response for some areas, which is why we are mixing locations that got good responses with those that did not. We want the work to be completed as soon as possible,” an official of the civic body said.
Those bagging the contract would instal the shelters and generate revenue by leasing out 180 sq ft of advertisement space on each of the facilities. The bus shelter contract will be on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.
At present, the Corporation has authorised Laqshya Media to instal shelters at 99 locations of which the company has completed work on 65. The company has put up the facilities on a BOT basis for a period of 10 years. It would pay the civic body a little over Rs.2 crore every year. Sources said work on much of the remaining shelters could not be taken up as shopkeepers and in some cases even councillors were objecting to their installation.
T.Ravikumar, president, All India Rail and Bus Passengers' Welfare Association, said bus shelters in the city had become commercialised. “The Corporation is looking to make revenue out of shelters meant for commuters. The space allocated for displaying bus numbers and timings has shrunk. Earlier, the shelters used to be big but now there is only a frame and not enough waiting space for commuters.”
Many areas in the city, including Chetpet, Egmore, Thirumangalam, Koyambedu, NSC Bose Road, Ashok Nagar, do not have shelters. Senior citizen Jaya Krishnamurthy, a resident of Choolaimedu, said seating arrangements must be provided in all bus shelters as not only the elderly but also those who are ill. “The bus shelters near the Government General Hospital have seats. Why can't the same model be replicated near all major hospitals? The Corporation has the funds… why are they hesitating to instal such facilities. The shelter near the KMC does not have seats,” she said.
K. Thirumurugan, a resident of Padi, which has been merged with the Chennai Corporation, said many expanded areas did not have bus shelters. “There is also no uniformity in the design of the shelters where they exist. In most places there is only a board denoting the bus stop. We want the Corporation to install shelters before summer. Already the maximum temperature has touched 30 degree Celsius,” he said.
The Corporation has also started collecting data to estimate the number of bus shelters required in the new areas.
“Shelters of uniform design would come up across the city. But in the meanwhile, based on suggestions from residents, we are also thinking of making changes to the design according to the requirements in different areas,” the official added.