Without any bus services from the interior villages to Guduvanchery station or bus stand, residents take share auots or their own vehicles and cover 7-to-10 km stretches, says Vaishali R. Venkat
Population explosion, growth of the IT sector and real estate development have pushed the boundaries of the city. Many people have moved into the emerging neighbourhoods.
One of them is R. Ramachandran, who hails from Kumbakonam and now lives Vallalar Nagar, which is a few kilometres from Guduvanchery Railway Station.
He travels every day to Nungambakkam, where he works at a construction site.
He either goes to the railway station or takes a bus from Guduvanchery for the trip to Nungambakkam.
However, to do both, he has to first cover nearly 4 km without the option of taking an MTC bus.
Apart from Vallalar Nagar, there are several other villages, a few kilometres away from Guduvanchery railway station.
They include Madambakkam, Aadhanoor and T.T.C. Nagar, where people largely depend on their own vehicles or packed share-autos.
Adding insult to injury is the poor road that is bumpy and dusty.
Travelling is a major problem in ‘New Chennai,’ which has seen sudden influx of people. With apartments mushrooming and developers competing to grab the next best piece of land, the face of the suburbs has totally changed. But infrastructural growth has not kept pace with this development, and transportation lags behind the most.
Yasodha, a resident of Madambakkam, has her office on Mount Road. She says, “Every day, my husband who is working in Maraimalainagar, drops me off at the Guduvanchery railway station. I am among the fortunate lot. Think of women who have no other transport mode to reach the station of the bus stop. I face similar problems whenever my husband travels out of city or is unable to drop me. That the roads are bad is an altogether different matter. With no MTC bus service, we residents have been suffering a lot.”
Going in a share-auto too is a tedious process here, for people have to wait for nearly an hour or so to get more people. The auto-driver would not start unless he gets 6-7 passengers per ride. To avoid this, most of the men prefer walking, but even this is not possible for women. Nigh-time travelling on foot is dangerous for them. During rainy season, the situation only gets worse. A fruit vendor who commutes by train to the city says, “Walking to the station and back home is the only option for me. If there was a bus or mini bus service to these areas it would have been such a boon.”
MTC officials when contacted said they have not got any representation from the residents so far. As far as mini buses are concerned, only if they get requests through their MLA or local councillor, they could do something. With regard to plying of MTC buses, they must a get a petition.