On Wednesday, K. Krishnarajan was stranded in the rain, without a train, bus, auto or call taxi to take him to his destination.
Around 3.45 p.m., he reached Velachery railway station to board an MRTS to Park Station not realising that train services had been stopped due to the cyclone.
The marketing executive tried to hail an autorickshaw and later, book a call taxi, but in vain. Nobody was willing to take him to his destination thanks to the downpour and heavy winds. Many like him were stranded in different parts of the city.
MRTS services between Beach and Velachery were stopped around 3.15 p.m. Railway authorities said that services had been cancelled due to the cyclone and until further orders, trains would not be operated on the stretch.
K. Ramesh, who was to travel to Egmore, was in a fix after cancellation of services at Velachery MRTS station. “I was to board the 5.30 p.m. Kanniyakumari Express, but I’m not sure if I will be able to make it on time,” he said.
Bus services that are regularly operated from Velachery MRTS station did not ply after 3 p.m. Commuters were forced to look for alternative modes of transport — share autorickshaws and call taxis to get to their destinations.
Poor patronage and fewer services cost the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) about Rs. 60 lakh, an MTC official said.
“There were fewer buses on the road. When I tried to contact some call-taxi operators, they said their vehicles would take a while. So I walked from Mount Road to my house in Mylapore,” said S. Varadarajan, an accountant.
Call taxis were unable to operate on full strength as several drivers did not turn up to work. C. Ambikapathy, president of Tamil Nadu Call Taxi Owners Association, said they had fewer bookings.
“We get about 18,000 calls on a regular day. But on Wednesday, there were just 12,000 calls and we were unable to manage as many drivers took leave. Some were not willing to ply their vehicles fearing they would get stuck on the waterlogged roads,” he said.