Too many halts break free flow of traffic in the city

IN A MESS: Buses being parked in the middle of West Boulevard Road near Main Guard Gate in Tiruchi. PHOTO: R. M. RAJARATHINAM

IN A MESS: Buses being parked in the middle of West Boulevard Road near Main Guard Gate in Tiruchi. PHOTO: R. M. RAJARATHINAM  

LAW &ORDER The number of halts has been increasing so that there is a need to regulate them, says S. Ganesan

If an orderly traffic system were to be a pre-requisite for a growing city, then Tiruchi will lag behind woefully.

The city is becoming notorious for its chaotic traffic narrow roads, encroachments, indiscipline among bus crew, poor enforcement of traffic rules and lack of road sense among vehicle users, all being counted among the contributing factors.

The problem is being compounded by the indiscriminate parking of buses, their places of halt are located parallel to each other on either side of congested roads.

More often than not, traffic on important roads is brought to a standstill by a city bus halting right on the middle of road, leaving very little space for vehicles coming behind.

Traffic policemen struggle to find a way out of the mess caused by haphazard parking of vehicles.

In places such as Thiruvanaikovil leading to Chennai highway, traffic often goes haywire as the city buses plying in opposite directions halting side by side.

So is the case in several other places most of the buses halt on the Woraiyur route especially the ones at Nachiar Kovil and Salai Road are situated parallel to each other.

The bus halt near the District Court and many others on the Thennur High Road, Srirangam and Gandhi Market areas are turning into major traffic bottlenecks, particularly during the peak hours.

For a compact city, the number of bus halts on any given route is considered to be abnormally high. For instance, there are over 30 halts on the Tiruchi-Thillai Nagar-Chathram Bus Stand route, a distance of just 10 km.

The innumerable unscheduled halts made by the crew to pick up passengers at every corner only add up to woes of motorists.

Though there is no gainsaying the fact that the number of halts has been increasing owing to public demand, as claimed by Transport Department officials, no apparent norm is being followed in creation of halts. None of the halts have "paved road shoulders" to earmark the designated parking space for the buses.

The frequent accidents, many involving city buses, have evoked frequent calls for stringent measures from service and consumer organisations but they have mostly gone unheeded.

The secretary of the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu, S.Pusphavanam while emphasising the need for sensitising the city bus crew on following road discipline suggests that the authorities could try and develop a few model halts by putting up "roadside shoulders" so as to ensure the halting of the buses at the earmarked spot.

Some of the halts, which were not much patronised, could be done away with in consultation with bus crew.

Strangely, both the police and transport authorities baulk at the prospect of having to reign in errant crew and traffic violations by them go unpunished, complain members of consumer organisations.

It is high time the authorities put their heads together to streamline the bus halts and educate the crew on adhering to traffic rules, they demand.

Interestingly, the District Traffic Advisory Committee, headed by the Collector, where such issues are normally taken up, seems to have become defunct of late.

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