Tiruchirapalli

Passengers on slippery ground at omni bus stand

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Slush causes difficulty for them to alight and board buses

The private terminus for omni buses near Central Bus Stand has turned slushy and waterlogged, causing difficulty for passengers alighting and boarding buses.

The bus stand is situated on a piece of land behind the SETC But Stand taken on two-year lease from the railways by a private party in 2018. Omni bus operators pay rent for using the bus stand and for setting up offices.

However, as the ground is not asphalted or cemented, the entire two-acre bus stand becomes inundated with water when it rains.

“A small shower is enough to ruin the place. Those who carry heavy luggage are the worst hit,” said M. Manohar, a passenger travelling to Chennai.

Women and children have it the worst, said R. Manishankari, who, along with her two children, was travelling to Bengaluru for work.

“I cannot leave behind my children, but one wrong step would spell disaster,” she says. The lack of a waiting hall or designated platforms where a passenger can wait makes it all the more difficult, she added.

The situation turns from bad to worse at night due to the lack of illumination in the area, passengers say. “The buses stand far away from the booking office. Most passengers, who gather outside the office, rush to the bus. With large potholes filled with water in the way, someone is bound to fall and injure themselves,” said Mr. Manohar.

The private bus operators pay ₹150 per day for parking and ₹ 200 per day for running a booking office. “The authorities impose a fine ₹ 2,500 for parking outside of the omni bus stand. However, they do not understand our concerns. If the experience of the bus travel is bad, then the customer will not return,” said R. Balakrishnan, president, Tiruchi Omni Bus Operators Association.

The slush and potholes damage the vehicles which have to be regularly repaired, he said. “Passengers step in with muddy shoes and then complain of dirty buses. We spend hours scrubbing it off the next day, while passengers shout at us for no fault of ours,” Mr. Balakrishnan said

The passenger footfall, which is usually heavy on weekends, saw a steep fall on Sunday due to the condition of the bus stand, he claimed. Allowing heavily loaded vehicles carrying luggage and parcels is also a reason for the bus stand’s state, he claimed.

“We have raised several complaints with the contractor. If our concerns are not heard, we will stop parking our vehicles at the omni bus stand and will raise the issue with the district administration and the city police,” said Mr. Balakrishnan.

The contractor, who is responsible for the maintenance of the bus stand, said that the matter had been taken into cognizance.

“We have received complaints from several bus operators over the last few days. As soon as rain stops, we will take measures to even out the surface of the bus stand,” the contractor said.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:38:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/passengers-on-slippery-ground-at-omni-bus-stand/article30150209.ece

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