T. Saravanan

“Auto-rickshaws and minibuses blamed for traffic snarls near GRH”

MADURAI: Traffic snarls and overcrowding of commuters are not uncommon in the Temple City.

They pose a serious problem at vulnerable points, especially at places like the bus stop near the Government Rajaji Hospital’s main entrance.

Located in the hospital zone tucked between the subway, which is not used by the public, and Goripalayam junction, one of the main intersections of the city, the bus stop in front of the GRH is always swamped with people and vehicles alike.

Compounding the problem, auto-rickshaw and minibus drivers compete with one another to pick up as many people as they can.

They park their vehicles in front of the bus stop and do everything to attract commuters.

This forces the city bus drivers to halt the vehicles right in the middle of the road.

Besides, the location of a minibus terminus opposite the hospital behind the shopping complex adds to the problem.

Minibuses, which start off from this terminus, do not have the luxury of space to enter the main road.

Hence, they block traffic whenever they get into the main road from the terminus.

As a result, in a two-lane Panagal Road vehicles moving in the same direction halt side by side leaving little space for vehicles coming from the opposite direction.

R. Mathivanan, Resident Medical Officer, Government Rajaji Hospital, said: “The hospital on an average receives around 7,000 to 10,000 outpatients every day. The location of the stop between the two bottlenecks does not serve the purpose of the patients or visitors except for those visiting Department of Ophthalmology.

“For the outpatient, trauma care and other wards are situated at the far end of the hospital. The best possible solution will be shifting of the bus stop from the present location to the one after the Obstetrics and Gynaecology ward.”

Platform encroached

Platform space in the bus stop is encroached by makeshift bunk stalls forcing the commuters to wait on the already cramped space on the road to board buses.

R. Abul Hassan, a vendor, said: “Traffic jam near GRH is a perennial problem. Earlier, it was less. For, there were separate stops for buses that ply to different locations. But in due course the practice got disappeared. Once the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation provides different stops this problem may come down.”

Police efforts

A policeman regulating the traffic at this junction said that the city police had made all efforts to ensure smooth flow of traffic, especially during peak hours.

He also blamed auto-rickshaw and minibus drivers for causing traffic snarls.

S. Srinivasan, a baker from Anuppanadi, who boards the bus regularly from here, said: “Peak hour traffic is hell here. Auto-rickshaw drivers make life difficult for commuters blocking the view by parking their vehicles in front. Once this menace is removed, it will be as good as any other place.”

A cross section of people wanted relocation of the bus stop and an end to the auto-rickshaw menace, to ease traffic congestion.