Centre lacks scientific management of bus bays
The Vyttila Mobility Hub is a contemporary, clean and safe bus terminal, but commuters are put to a lot of difficulties owing to the unscientific management of parking bays. Added to this, the hub lacks a proper public information system.
The result is that commuters have to shuttle between bus bays where KSRTC buses are parked and those where private buses are parked, to board the next bus to their destination. This can be avoided if there are boards in Malayalam and English that display timings of KSRTC and private buses.
Highlighting this aspect, members of Synergians, an NGO which is striving to ‘change the way we travel’, organised a ‘ nettottam ’ (running around) behind buses at the hub on Thursday, to convey their plight.
As an example, they spoke of how KSRTC buses to Cherthala are parked at the hub’s second platform, while private buses are parked in the 11th platform.
If passengers miss a KSRTC bus, they have to rush with their luggage to platform 11 – located a clear 200 metres away, to see if any private bus is parked there, said Sijin, a member of Synergians.
“Either buses to each destination must be parked together or a proper public display/address system must be readied. Only then will the hub become people-centric. Sadly, many people who man the KSRTC station master’s cabin are rude and they say that a bus will arrive ‘immediately’, even if he has no firm information,” he said.
There are also widespread complaints about how there are inadequate number of bus services from the hub to places within the city, suburban towns and other districts.
For example, the hub is yet to become a terminal point for buses on the Ernakulam-Thiruvananthapuram route. The buses which arrive here from other places en route to Thiruvananthapuram are already packed with people.
Another member of the NGO, Renjith Unnikrishnan said that many long-distance KSRTC drivers are reluctant to stop at the bus stops in Vyttila Junction. “The situation has not changed even though I sent written complaints to authorities of the KSRTC and the hub. This often causes friction between commuters and bus crew who use abusive language. Sadly, most people do not respond or complain. Apart from youth, even elders are welcome to our group.”
Inadequate night buses
Commuters spoke of how the namesake services from the hub fall acutely short of demand, after 8 p.m. Apart from a proper enquiry and public address/display system, they demanded more chairs for commuters.
Renu, a daily commuter in the Aroor-Vyttila route said that there are no buses to Alappuzha through Vyttila after 8 p.m. “Crossing Vyttila Junction is yet another nightmare.”
Manu, another commuter, said that buses from Tripunithura to the city and those on the Cherthala-Aluva route skip the hub.
“Though passengers pay very high fares, they are denied their rights. Drivers who do not stop at bus stops even if there is plenty of vacant space often cite excuses like they are working continuously for many hours, which is part of their duty. We too put in long working hours and then travel to reach back home.”
Members of the NGO also spoke of how the hub needs pay-and-use facilities for bathing too, since hundreds of people come from different parts of the State to attend interviews held in the city. They often have to book rooms in hotels and lodges, just to freshen up.
Commuters have to shuttle between bus bays where KSRTC buses are parked and those where private buses are parked, to board the next bus to their destination.