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Friday, February 13, 2015

‘Teynampet supermarket irangu !’ ~ airconditioned bus stops !!

Chittu Kuruvi , directed by Devaraj-Mohan starring Sivakumar, Sumithra released in 1978 was spoken for the sweet score of Illayaraja.   A song penned by Vaali ‘en kanmani un kaadhali iLa maangani; unaip paarththadhum sirikkinradhaen !” ….was a hit ~ ‘Teynampet supermarket irangu !’

I have been posting about the transportation in Chennai, the MTC changing numbers, introducing early morning service and more.  Chennai  city largely depends on Metropolitan Transport Corporation that operates around 3000 buses within the city limits.  The bus stands [bus shelters] have stories of their own.  Once the concrete structures would house hundreds of waiting people – though Madras never had the culture of people standing in a queue – and buses also would stop some yards before the stop, making people run.  The concrete topped structures would have variety of advertisements truck in every hue and size – of water tank cleaning, employment, medication, magic shows and more.  You may have to share the space with stray dogs and cattle.  Those days there used to be ‘telephone booths manned by visually challenged people’ and a cobbler..  the stops provided no respite from Sun or rain !!

It is a plain fact that they woefully lack basic infrastructure – many times having no information on buses that would stop and if painted, there would be posters on them !!  In between there was the legal tangle where it was stated that Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) was not authorised to manage bus shelters in the city; only the Corporation has the authority to commission and manage bus shelters at stops identified by the MTC.  The order, handing over 500 bus shelters from the MTC to the Corporation, paved the way for implementing a project for uniformly-designed bus shelters in all parts of the city.  The Corporation  is trying to put up  modern stainless steel bus shelters on roads of developed areas in the core city area through the build operate transfer model.

Commuters and residents have raised safety concerns over poor illumination at several bus stops. It will do the city a lot of good, if bus stops are rid of occupation and kept clean for the passengers.  Also in a couple of places, the proximity to TASMAC shops makes them a nightmare. Unlike Chennai, in Trichy, it is all private buses and there are so many buses plying from Srirangam Temple to Trichy Jn.  In one of the recent trips, was surprised to see an airconditioned bus stop.  Yes a closed structure containing an ATM with passengers waiting in the comfort of air-conditioner.  It was the initiative of Tiruchirapalli City Corporation with participation of City Union Bank (CUB).  Understand that not one but four such shelters exist in Trichy.   

A couple of days back on GST Road, saw infrastructure getting readied – the Metro rail commuters stepping out of the Alandur station will be able to board buses from airconditioned shelters. With metro rail planning to commission its first elevated line from Alandur to Koyambedu shortly,  the Cantonment Board has decided to set up three AC bus shelters at Asar Ghana junction, which would become an intermodal transport hub.  Understand that  each shelter would be approx  370sqft with a seating capacity of 32 passengers and standing capacity of 45. Facilities would include ATM, CCTV, security guards, public urinals, drinking water, coffee vending machines and announcements about bus arrivals. "Commuters will be able to see a bus coming from 500 metres on an LCD screen in the shelter, so that they can be ready to board” states the Officials.

More surprised to learn that the first such airconditioned bus stop was inaugurated in the temple town of Kumbakonam way back in May 2013.  That AC shelter was put up by City Union Bank Ltd which is based out of Kumbakonam.    Statistically, it was  stated that 68 town buses are plying every day in Kumbakonam town and 350 mofussil buses are operated a day.

Bus Stop is a 1956 American romantic comedy film  of 20th  Century Fox, starring Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray, Arthur O'Connell – reported to be a dramatic piece.  Marilyn Monroe  sings a  song: "That Old Black Magic" by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. Bus Stop was based on two plays by William Inge, People in the Wind and Bus Stop.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Feb 2015.


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