125 new shelters to have information kiosks; city routes, maps to be provided

Waiting at a bus stop usually involves alternatively glancing at a wristwatch (or a mobile phone) and peering at the road, waiting for the bus to rumble along.

If the Chennai Corporation goes ahead with its latest proposal though, city commuters may soon find interminable waits made interesting, with information kiosks at major bus stops, providing know-how on bus routes and means of transport, as well as local maps and guides.

At least 125 new bus shelters across various localities will get these kiosks, in the first phase of the project.

Corporation officials said the decision was taken after a number of commuters complained about the lack of bus shelters in several parts of the city. With temperatures rising, it is becoming increasingly difficult for commuters to wait for buses with no shade nearby. The Corporation Council therefore, is set to pass a resolution that calls for the building of more shelters, and these new shelters will be equipped with kiosks.

Information about important buildings such as government offices and places of worship will also be available at the kiosks.

The major reason a number of proposed bus shelters have been stuck in red tape, an official said, is because of legal problems over the management of the shelters. However, with mercury levels and commuters’ tempers rising, the civic body has intensified its measures to overcome these hurdles and expedite the construction of shelters.

By June, existing legal tangles will be sorted out and work on several bus shelters in key areas will be completed before the monsoon, the official added.

Several tenders for shelters that were on the verge of finalisation were held up due to interim orders from courts, an official said. This has forced residents in many areas to ask for local area development scheme funds from their MLAs and MPs, for the construction of shelters.

Key roads including Tirumangalam Main Road, Valluvar Kottam High Road, G.N. Chetty Road, Haddows Road, College Road, Cathedral Road, NSK Salai, CTH Road, Red Hills Road and Inner Ring Road have been identified by MLAs for bus shelter construction.

This summer too, the Corporation has floated a number of tenders for bus shelters. But the civic body’s legal officials said they were worried about interim orders coming in for the new bus shelters as well.

A few years ago, the civic body removed 377 unauthorised shelters, but a consortium sought legal intervention and prevented the civic body from providing commuters with authorised ones.

Another proposal involving bus shelters seems to have remained on paper, four years after it was mooted. A design for bus stops that envisaged uniformly-designed structures with stainless steel shelters, has barely seen the light of day, as 90 per cent of the structures under this project are yet to be commissioned.

The delay over commissioning of bus shelters has also led to the Corporation’s losing revenue, as it earns an annual sum via advertisements.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation has over 2,000 bus stops in the city but the Corporation has only around 1,150 authorised ones.

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