Madurai

With Periyar bus stand shut, nil amenities torment passengers

Traffic snarls near closed Periyar bus stand in Madurai on Tuesday.

Traffic snarls near closed Periyar bus stand in Madurai on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: S. James

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With dust surrounding the roads, passengers stand confused about the whereabouts of the buses

On Tuesday afternoon scores of passengers, who are exposed to the scorching sun, wait to board their buses on West Veli Street and T.P.K. Road. With dust surrounding the two streets, the passengers stand confused about the whereabouts of the buses.

Currently, under the Smart City project, the Corporation is tearing down the Periyar bus stand and Bharathiyar shopping complex for reconstruction. These facilities will transform into a modern bus terminus with multi-level parking and a tourist plaza.

The project, which was announced to be completed within 18 months, has put the passengers, crew and other road users to inconvenience due to the lack of basic requirements and inadequacies in the alternative arrangements made.

There are around 650 buses that make nearly 3,200 departures from these two bus stands.

Thousands of passengers are affected by inadequate number of bus shelters. While there are few temporary overhead shelters on T.P.K Road, there are no temporary shelters on West Veli Street.

“During the rainy season, it will become extremely difficult to wait for buses as a short spell of rain will inundate the area,” says K. Samarasam, who was waiting to take a bus to Melur.

Passengers are also affected due to the lack of signboards to indicate the spots where buses for different routes will be available. “With no sinage, for the last 20 minutes, I have been roaming around these two streets searching for the bus stop,” says T. Senthil, a passenger waiting to take a bus to Tirupparankundram.

“Earlier we had put up banners indicating the bus stops in a few places on T.P.K Road. However, the traffic police have removed the banners,” says a senior TNSTC official, requesting anonymity.

The passengers and the bus crew complained that for the last six months the Corporation has failed to provide basic facilities like drinking water and toilet facilities to the users.

“Even after repeated complaints, the Corporation has not provided toilets and drinking water for the users. The elderly, who come from outskirts, are suffering due to the lack of these basic facilities,” says a bus conductor.

“The Corporation has spent so many crores on this project. Then why can’t they provide these basic facilities,” he asks.

S. Palraj, a passenger, complained that buses come at irregular intervals and passengers are forced to wait for long hours. “Even when the buses come, the drivers move the vehicle, even before the passengers enter the bus,” he adds.

Adding to these problems is the location of the bus pass renewal centre. On Tuesday, scores of people were making a beeline in front of the bus pass renewal centre located on Hayath Khan Sahib Street.

“Instead of waiting here amidst the dust, the officials can shift the bus pass renewal centre to the Ellis Nagar bus depot,” suggests B. Pandurangan, a sugarcane juice vendor on West Veli Street.

Traffic snarls are a common sight on West Veli Street and T.P.K. Road during rush hours.

A senior police officer at the junction says that accidents occur daily at the junction. “The drivers park the buses at one corner of the road and go for a break. The other buses deboard the passengers in the middle portion of the carriageway. Speeding two-wheelers criss-cross between the medians and enter the middle portion of the carriageway, thus posing a constant threat to the commuters,” says the official.

Adding to this congestion and confusion, share autorickshaws abruptly cut across and obstruct the passageway of the buses. “To ease the traffic flow, encroachments must be removed and two-wheelers parked alongside the road must be moved elsewhere,” says a retired TNSTC official.

According to sources from the Corporation, within a week, the stretch of the road dividing the Periyar bus stand and Shopping Complex bus stand will be closed until the completion of the project. Both the TNSTC officials and traffic police are worried about the traffic diversion once it is closed.

Currently, the plan is to divert buses bound towards Mattuthavani, Melur, Alagar Koil direction, through the service road behind the Periyar bus stand and connect them back with the West Veli Street, opposite the Kattabomman statue junction.

“The service road is not wide enough and we are not sure how successfully we can divert the buses and heavy vehicles through this stretch,” says a traffic police at the junction.

A senior TNSTC official says that the passengers will find it difficult to board buses bound for Mattuthavani once the diversion takes place.

“We have suggested that for the buses coming from North Veli Street and proceeding towards TPK Road, the buses could be diverted via Goods Shed Street and also through Town Hall Road to reach Netaji Road junction. Passengers can board the buses at this junction,” suggests the official.

City Engineer S. Arasu said that the work is going as per the schedule and would be completed in the stipulated time-frame. He also said that the Corporation would provide e-toilets and drinking water provision, wherever necessary.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:07:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/with-periyar-bus-stand-shut-nil-amenities-torment-passengers/article28761671.ece

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