With the passengers arriving at the city as early as 4 am, there is no public transport available to reach their homes and have to rely on fleecing autorickshaw drivers or call taxis charging double the normal rates.
K Saravanan, who visited Thanjavur and returned on a train on Tuesday morning, said that usually, MTC would operate frequent early morning bus services for the benefit of those returning from their natives following festivals like Pongal and Deepavali. “There was no such service available on Tuesday morning. When we enquired at the station, we were told that the bus service and metro will start only after 5 am. So we had to pay double the normal charge for an autorickshaw to reach home at Aynavaram,” he complained.
MTC has been operating bus service between 6 am and 10 pm as per the COVID-19 standard operating procedure. Chennai Metro Rail has extended its service timing from 5.30 am to 11 pm for the benefit of office goers and air passengers, while suburban train services still remain suspended, which otherwise operated from 4 am to 12 am.
Sources in the MTC said the services were operated round the clock on Sunday night, while it could not be done on Monday due to heavy rain. “Even then, we operated early morning services to Tambaram, CMBT, Egmore, Central and Poonamallee for outstation passengers,” the official said.
On Monday, GST Road near Perungalathur was choked by heavy traffic as people who left the city for their natives to celebrate Deepavali started returning.
Private buses were lined up on the GST Road near Perungalathur and traffic cops on duty could not handle the traffic. Soon more staff were brought in to regulate the traffic. The people were also suffering since the MTC buses were also operating in fewer numbers. Usually, the passengers who get down at Perungalathur would mostly travel by local trains but now since the local trains have not started to operate, the passengers had to wait for the buses. However, many complained that only a few buses operated and they needed to go in search of autos and call taxis.