Bus commuters face a harrowing time on Coimbatore roads

Passengers have to wait for buses braving the soaring mercury or downpour as many bus stops do not have shelters.

Passengers have to wait for buses braving the soaring mercury or downpour as many bus stops do not have shelters.   | Photo Credit: M_PERIASAMY

Need to bring licensing for bus shelters under single window system stressed

Bus commuters in Coimbatore are a neglected lot in all respects and this is just not an exaggeration, if one takes a look at bus stops on arterial roads in the city.

There are a number of bus stops without shelters for passengers forcing them to brave the scorching sun or put up with a downpour. In places where the bus stops have shelters, the buses never stop there. Drivers tend to stop away from the bus stop, again pushing commuters to stand on the road. In places where there are bus stops, they are not well maintained with missing roofs and broken benches.

Shelters at bus stops got a facelift way back in 2010 when the city hosted the World Classical Tamil Conference. The sophisticated bus stops with clock, steel bench and drinking water raised many eyebrows. But the same proved to be only a cosmetic exercise in select locations in core city areas and these shelters just faded away from reality over a period of months, says R. Raghavendran a regular user of city bus services.

Leasing advertisement rights of these shelters proved a wrong move, where the interests of the advertisers superseded the needs of the bus passengers. Civic body, which licensed these shelters at bus stops ended up giving permission for one shelter at a bus stop and the advertisers erected two or three shelters in busy areas for the sake of advertisement mileage. The advertisers never looked beyond arterial roads, points out a TNSTC official on condition of anonymity.

The Road Safety-cum-Traffic Advisory Committee took objection to such practices and the same was recorded in the minutes of the meetings. A direction was also issued to remove the excess shelters and put them in places where they are actually required. Presence of more shelters only confused the passengers and the drivers.

If one were to see a deserted bus stop with shelter for passengers, especially those closer to signals, the reason is that the drivers stop before the bus stop, if they spot the signal to be red.

If the signal is green, they tend to speed past the bus stop, forcing the commuters to alight at non-designated locations and putting their lives at risk, says a sub-inspector who has served in the traffic wing for more than four years.

The city has 265 approved shelters for buses. An official list prepared by the Transport Department, Corporation and the police say that there are 160 more unapproved shelters (i.e., those erected over and above the approved shelters at the same location).

Orders to remove them to needed locations remain on paper since 2003, says K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause, who is also the member Road Safety-cum-Traffic Advisory Committee.

To ensure that every bus stop has a shelter for passengers, the licensing or approval system for bus shelters will have to be brought under a single window system and revenue through advertising rights must be stopped.

Road safety funds or MLAs Constituency Development Fund or MPs Local Area Development Funds could be used for erecting the shelters, he added.

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Printable version | Jun 7, 2020 9:53:17 AM |

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