Bus halts close to vital intersections prove to be major impediments in streamlining traffic, writes S. Ganesan

Enforcement of traffic regulations, a long neglected aspect of policing in the city, has rightfully gained prominence ever since the new Police Commissioner Karuna Sagar assumed charge.

The perceived indiscipline of the bus drivers – given to rash driving and indiscriminate parking at the bus halts – was a major talking point at a meeting with transport operators convened by Commissioner recently.

Another key aspect of the problem, the ill-planned location of several bus halts in the city, is yet to be addressed. A large number of bus halts are located too close to vital traffic intersections, proving to be major impediments towards streamlining traffic. Many of these have cropped up over the years, apparently owing to popular demand, and gained official recognition in course of time. But not much planning or traffic engineering seem to have to gone into earmarking of bus halts in most parts.

Almost all automatic traffic signals have bus halts close by, leading to traffic snarls and defeating the very purpose of the installation of the signals. Vehicles proceeding from signal junctions are often caught in a traffic logjam after city buses halt at bus stops ahead. Even while motorists behind try to negotiate their way around, vehicles from the adjacent road move in from the signal, plunging traffic into chaos.

The problem is felt acutely in many signals, including those at Mainguard Gate, Puthur Four Roads Junction, Head Post Office, TVS Tollgate, Mannarpuram, Railway Junction-Madurai Highway and Mambazhasalai intersections. At some places more than one bus halt is located close to the signals, classic examples being the Puthur Four Road Junction and the TVS Tollgate. At the Puthur Junction, city and mofussil buses entering the Thennur High Road and the Puthur Main Road halt immediately after crossing the traffic signal.

At Mainguard Gate, motorists and thousands of school and college students undergo the travail everyday as bus drivers choose to stop right at signals instead of the designated bus halt a few metres behind near the Corporation Chathram. Passengers have to board and alight right on the middle of the road and make their way across speeding traffic. In a few places, drivers choose to halt the vehicles well ahead of shelters as passengers anxious to board the bus rush in.

Only a coordinated study by the Police, Transport Department and Corporation on the location of such bus halts and the locale-specific problems could help evolve appropriate solutions to overcome the pervasive problem in the city, say some officers in government agencies. They also insist that all bus halts located within close proximity to traffic signals should be relocated.