As commuters endured an oppressive heat wave on a summer noon, forty-year-old Muniamma Annamalai, who was waiting for a bus, wiped the sweat off her forehead and leaned on the fence of a petrol bunk on Poonamallee High Road. Suffering from a kidney ailment, she travels back and forth from her residence in Maduravoyal to Kilpauk Medical College thrice a week for treatment.
“Standing in this bus stop without a shelter is a tortuous experience. Is it so difficult for Metro Rail to provide a shelter,” she asked. The bus stop opposite Ega Theatre on Poonamallee High Road is one of those in the city lacking a shelter. This is because some of the bus stops in the city had to be pushed few hundred metres away from their original location owing to Metro Rail work and they all lost their shelters.
The situation is worse at a bus stop on Anna Nagar Second Avenue opposite to Senthil Nursing Home where share autos and buses vie for space on an already constricted road. “Metro Rail work has taken up half the road, so, it is risky to stand here when the buses curve into this stretch,” Zeba, a college student said. “Half the time, we can’t even see the bus numbers as the share autos block the space,” she added.
Meanwhile, officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) said they may not be able to provide shelters in the bus stops due to space constraint and commuters have to put up with this for the next two years.
“When they have decided to shift the bus stop for their convenience, why not shift to a place where they can at least provide a shelter,” asked V. Subramani of Traffic and Transportation Forum.