The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) seems to have kicked up a hornet’s nest with its decision to assign one conductor and one driver on a permanent basis to each of its buses.

The system that was introduced to improve efficiency received a hostile response from both drivers and conductors who went on flash strike in four depots including Thiruvamiyur and refused to take out buses on Wednesday morning.

Their reason — sometimes, they do not just get along.

Drivers and conductors in Anna Nagar, Avadi, Thiruvanmiyur and Perambur depots participated in the flash protest. “It is important that drivers and conductors share a particular rapport. In its absence, it is really inconvenient for both. Many drivers and conductors are however not on friendly terms. This will lead to unnecessary tension,” said a conductor

The lack of camaraderie is only one of their concerns. The MTC employees were also unhappy about the lack of flexibility in changing of shift timings. “Some drivers/conductors come for morning shift and others for evening shift. We used to adjust according to the need, but now the administration does not allow us to do so,” said a driver who participated in the strike.

Senior MTC officials said the purpose of the system was to capitalise on the familiarity that the drivers and conductors would have with the working of the bus. The driver would know whether the clutch, brakes and other equipment were working properly. “He will know the distance and timing between bus stops and can help improve services,” said a source.

The conductor will also know which stop is likely to be frequented by more people and at what time. “He will also know the commuters well and know at what time each one of them waits at a particular stop,” added the source.

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