Transport Minister MR Vijaya Baskar announced on Friday that all mofussil government buses will operate round the clock in view of Pongal festival.
The Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), which witnessed a low footfall during the strike, saw a huge crowd on Friday morning and commuters were also seen lining up in front of special ticket counters, which were set up in the CMBT to ease the crowd for Pongal festival. However, many passengers said that they booked online for taking government buses, while a few commuters reached the CMBT thinking that they could easily get tickets, as crowd would be less.
A senior official of SETC said that there was no crowd till 2 pm. However, commuters in large numbers started arriving after 4 pm. “We operated around 4,000 buses and there is a high possibility for more crowds on Saturday,” he added.
Following the withdrawal of statewide strike by transport workers, Chennai city limped back to normalcy on Friday after being largely affected in the last eight days due to strike.
While Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) said that all the MTC buses were operated in the city, while Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) officials claimed that around 70 per cent of buses were on the road.
An MTC official said, “All the MTC regular and small buses were operated in the city and suburbs.
Since almost all the workers turned up for duty on Friday morning, around 25 per cent of workers were asked to join the evening shift.” The MTC also operated feeder services to Anna Nagar (West), Saidapet and Tambaram and Poonamallee from where mofussil buses would be operated, the official added.
When contacted, R Anandapadmanaban, Managing Director of SETC, said, “We started operating mofussil buses and around 4,000 buses were operated since Friday morning.
We expect that the number of buses will increase on Saturday.”