Bus services continue to stay off EB Road

Lorries parked on East Boulevard Road in Tiruchi.  

There had been many instances of intervention by the district administration and Regional Transport Office authorities on resuming bus services on East Boulevard Road in the city. But it is still elusive.

Unlike West Boulevard Road, a parallel road in the city, East Boulevard Road is surrounded by thickly populated residential colonies and urban slums.

According to a rough estimate, nearly one-tenth of the city population lives along both sides of East Boulevard Road.

A large number of people commute to various places from the habitations along EB Road.

It has been a centre of lorry booking offices to transport various items booked by the people and traders to different parts of the country.

According to sources, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) has to operate 15 services and the private operators 33 services a day on East Boulevard Road. But, none of them operate on the designated route. Instead, they regularly operate on West Boulevard Road.

In the absence of bus services, residents have been left with the options of travelling in their own vehicles or walk. For the residents, who want to go to Central Bus Stand or Railway Junction, they need to walk for two to three km to board buses on West Boulevard Road. If they want to travel towards Srirangam, they need to walk more to catch buses on Madurai Road.

It has been an ordeal for the people for many years. It is not that the officials have not taken steps to operate bus services on the road. Most of the Collectors of Tiruchi district had intervened in the recent past to resume bus services.

Whenever pressure mounts on resuming bus services, Collector convenes a meeting of Regional Transport authorities, Tiruchi Corporation, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), TNSTC, and other stakeholders and subsequently buses would ply for some days. Once the officials shift their attention on other issues, buses would skip the route only to operate via West Boulevard Road.

The transport operators cite poor collection and patronage the reasons for skipping the route.

Attempts were made in 2016, 2018,2019 and 2020 to operate bus services on the route. Collector S. Sivarasu too intervened to make the operation of buses on the route regular. Upon his direction, buses were operated for some days.

“Skipping the designated route is a case of clear violation. If the bus operators are reluctant to operate buses on East Boulevard Road, the permit should be cancelled so as to take alternative steps,” says N. Jamaludeen, a consumer activist.

He said that the East Boulevard Road had ample space for operating bus services. Hassle-free movement of vehicles was possible if the encroachments were cleared. If the services were operated continuously the patronage would pick up surely within a few months.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 11:57:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/lorries/article35591428.ece

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