Kochi

Sans bus shelters, commuters brave the elements

At the receiving end: Commuters waiting for bus on the northern side of Vyttila Junction , where a waiting shed was pulled down.

At the receiving end: Commuters waiting for bus on the northern side of Vyttila Junction , where a waiting shed was pulled down.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Waiting shed gives way to flyover construction at Vyttila; funds not spared for setting up alternative bus shelters, says PWD official

Hundreds of commuters waiting for buses on the northern side of Vyttila Junction on NH Bypass and at many other places in the city have to brave the sweltering summer heat and risk being knocked down by speeding vehicles.

At Vyttila, the PWD (NH wing) has not installed even a temporary waiting shed in place of the permanent one it demolished for flyover construction.

With the permanent shed demolished and trees along the road median that offered a resemblance of shade being cut down, commuters, including aged people, women, and children, have no other option but to wait on end, braving the weather, air and sound pollution, amid chaotic traffic near the railway overbridge. A PWD official associated with the flyover work said the State government had not earmarked funds to construct alternative bus shelters in place of those demolished on four sides of the junction. Pedestrians too are finding it tough to safely cross the junction due to continuous barricading of around 700-m-long flyover work site, except for an opening in front of Kaniampuzha Road that leads to the Vyttila Mobility Hub.

Vacant space unused

Interestingly, construction materials are dumped in the area that had been earmarked on the north-western side of the junction (in front of the Vyttila zonal office of the Kochi Corporation) where autorickshaws and goods carriers used to be parked.

Half-a-dozen trees there provide ample shade, under whose canopy bus commuters can wait. The PWD official said it was up to the traffic police to take a call on relocating the bus stop.

Call for mapping

Responding to the issue, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order, Traffic) J. Himendranath said the police were not allotted funds to build bus shelters.

“Problems faced by commuters due to the absence of such shelters can be taken up at the meetings of the Traffic Regulatory Committee. There is a need to rationalise and relocate bus stops at many places in the city since there are too many of them located close by. For this, the stops have to be mapped, following which the corporation must build them,” he added.

The problems facing commuters awaiting buses will be taken up with the contractor who is constructing the flyover, so that a temporary shelter or two can be built at the earliest, said Abdul Salam, Assistant Commissioner, Traffic Police (East).

On the setting up of bus shelters on arterial roads, Deputy Mayor T.J. Vinod said it was up to the agencies that owned roads to install waiting sheds with adequate space.

“On our part, we rope in sponsors to build bus shelters, for which we have selected a design. In return, they are permitted to sell advertisement space atop the structures,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:53:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/sans-bus-shelters-commuters-brave-the-elements/article26490001.ece

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