Tirumangalam in dire need of a mofussil bus terminus


If there is one word that describes the scene during peak hours at the mofussil bus stop on Madurai Road opposite Tirumangalam Town police station, it would be ‘chaotic’. In the absence of a bus terminus, scores of passengers are bearing the brunt of the hot sun or rain every day, and unregulated traffic puts road users to a lot of inconvenience.

The long-pending demand of the people for a mofussil bus terminus in Tirumangalam, which has been in the pipeline for many years now, is yet to be fulfilled.

Why bus terminus

Tirumangalam is a major connecting junction to places south of Madurai. It is a connecting route for buses plying on Madurai and Sengottai highway, passing through Srivilliputtur and Rajapalayam, and on Madurai and Tirunelveli highway, passing through Virudhunagar.

Tirumangalam municipality has a population of around 55,000 and this pivotal bus stop sees thousands of passengers every day, as people from nearby villages and places come to the bus stop to board buses to reach their destinations.

Some passengers from Madurai also go to Tirumangalam to board buses, in order to save time in travelling to MGR Integrated Bus Stand located at the northern end of the city. D. Saraswathy of Arapalayam, who was waiting to board a bus for Shencottah, says, “Travelling to MGR bus stand at Mattuthavani to catch a bus to Shencottah is time-consuming and exhausting. It is rather easier to catch a bus from Periyar bus stand and reach Tirumangalam. It also saves money.”

Minimum requirements

Hundreds of passengers are affected due to the lack of a bus shelter. “Be it rain or shine, we are forced to wait in the open. While a few shops allow us to stand inside under the shade, many don’t allow as people block the way for their customers,” says K. Ramachandran, a commuter.

The lack of drinking water and toilet facilities also affects passengers, who come from far-off places. “The lack of toilet facilities plagues passengers who come from nearby villages and wait for long at the bus stop. Women commuters are the worst affected,” says S. Elangovan, a bus agent of a private transport company.

The passengers complain that in the absence of signboards, there is a lot of confusion among them as to where they need to go to catch their buses. “The buses stop only at points where there is a huge crowd,” complains S. Muthuselvi, who was waiting to board a bus to Rajapalayam.

Whenever buses arrive, passengers, carrying heavy luggage, struggle as they run to board their buses. “How can the elderly and women with heavy luggage run along with their children to board buses?”, asks C. Victor, another commuter.

With buses plying throughout the day, a large number of mugging and bag-lifting cases are reported, says a senior police official. “Though there are police personnel present at the bus stop throughout the day, the passengers must also be cautious to keep their luggage and goods safe,” says the official.

Traffic congestion

While passengers face a lot of hardship due to the lack of a bus terminus, the main consequence has been traffic congestion on the road during peak hours. Currently, buses departing from Madurai and proceeding towards southern destinations use Madurai Road opposite Tirumangalam Town police station as a bus stop.

Buses move on a narrow road as the passengers, who are waiting to board buses, occupy one-third of the carriageway. With the reduced carriageway during peak hours, buses try to overtake one another, brushing against vehicles coming in the opposite direction.

“With more number of private buses in operation, traffic becomes tough to regulate during rush hours,” says Mr. Victor.

Buses bound for Madurai use a portion of the road outside the Tirumangalam town bus stand, located a few hundred metres away from the mofussil bus stop, to drop passengers.

“Due to space constraint, at a time only two buses can drop the passengers outside the town bus stand. However, often more number of mofussil buses create congestion at the junction as they block the entry of town buses into the bus stand,” says a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation official.

Status of the bus stop

Municipal Commissioner Jeyarama Raja says as per a Government Order dated May 5, 2019, the bus terminus project will be taken up in a public-private partnership model. He says an administrative sanction has been passed for the bus terminus, with an estimated cost of ₹21.75 crore.

“A vacant land at Venkada Samudhiram adjacent to the four-lane bypass has been proposed for the project, which will be confirmed after a spot inspection by higher authorities,” he says, adding the tender will be floated soon for roping in private entities for the project.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 5:29:50 AM |

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