Setting in of southwest monsoon, reopening of schools expected to aggravate traffic chaos

The lack of segregated bus bays and waiting sheds continues to plague commuters in the city. It is also aggravating traffic chaos, especially at busy junctions.

Commuters and traffic managers are worried that the situation would worsen with the South West monsoon, expected to set in by the end of the month.

The ongoing road works at several places is another cause for concern. Most of the bus waiting sheds are poorly designed and ill maintained, with several of them offering little protection from the elements. As a result, commuters wait [for buses] on the footpath or road, adding to the traffic chaos.

The bus shelters at major locations like East Fort and PMG are dilapidated, with leaking roofs, rusted frames and broken slabs. Commuters fear that they would have a tough time boarding buses in pouring rain. The trenches dug to lay utility pipes and cables and the slush created by road works also pose other hazards.

In the Statue area, one of the major hubs in the city where three bus stops are located, there is not even a single bus shelter. Sreekumar, a daily commuter from the Statue bus stop says, “not having a shelter is a curse. With the monsoon season just round the corner, anybody out without an umbrella will get soaked before boarding a bus.”

The situation is worse in the peripheral areas of the city where there are no bus bays or waiting sheds.

People are forced to wait for buses on the road, braving the scorching sun and rain, while bus drivers have to take extra care to avoid running over commuters.

The chaotic conditions at bus stops are expected to worsen with schools and colleges set to reopen next month. Vishnu Nath, a college student, says, “during the rains, it is difficult to board a bus without getting wet. An umbrella does not help much in a milling crowd. Commuters also have to be careful of water getting splashed on them from potholes.”

Unscientific positioning

The unscientific positioning of bus stops near busy junctions often creates traffic snarls.

Traffic managers point out that the temporary bus shelters erected at Thampanoor and opposite the St. Joseph's Cathedral are aggravating traffic snarls at these points. The Indian Roads Congress (IRC) specifically states that bus stops have to be located at least 80 metres away from junctions to avoid traffic congestion.

The modern bus shelter at the west gate of the Museum is supposed to be a model in design and in incorporating facilities for commuters.

The Kerala Road Fund Board has plans to set up similar structures at 94 locations, sources say.