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Lack of buses trouble arriving rail passengers at Tiruvallur

The town bus services from TNSTC operate only from 6 am to 9.30 pm, leaving those who travel early or late at night at the mercy of auto drivers who charge double the regular fare.

Lack of buses trouble arriving rail passengers at Tiruvallur
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The deserted Tiruvallur bus terminus in Periyakuppam

TIRUVALLUR: Commuters landing at Tiruvallur Railway Station are a hassled lot. For there are no adequate bus services for them to continue their journey to the end-point or from the station to the town bus terminus from where they could catch another bus to their destination. Many rue that often they end up paying much more for autorickshaws or cabs.

The town bus services from TNSTC operate only from 6 am to 9.30 pm, leaving those who travel early or late at night at the mercy of auto drivers who charge double the regular fare. Tiruvallur has suburban train connectivity that allows them to travel to Chennai for work or study. These trains operate as early as 3.50 am and as late as 1.10 am, and commuters struggle to get to and from the station.

"Around 1.69 lakh commuters use Tiruvallur Railway Station, on average. Among them, about one lakh commuters travel to Chennai Central. The lack of bus services has worsened over the years, and it needs to improve," said B Sundararajan, the coordinator of the Federation of Tiruvallur District Railway Passengers Association.

The Tiruvallur station is located three km from the bus terminus. TNSTC (Villupuram) operated 55 town buses to go to various parts of the district from the terminus. However, only one town bus makes two trips during the morning and evening from the station to the terminus. A private bus also operates from the station via the terminus.

Sasi Margret, a resident of Tiruvallur who works at Madras High Court, has been travelling on suburban train services for the past 20 years. She either uses an auto- rickshaw or a private bus to reach the station. Sasi believes that increasing the frequency of bus services to the station will benefit many train commuters. School students face overcrowded town buses, and they have to travel on private buses as there are no other options.

Arumugham, an employee at a private company in Anna Salai, said that autorickshaws that run on a sharing basis charge double the standard fare at night. The autos charge Rs 20 per person in the mornings, while they collect Rs 40 at night.

A TNSTC Villupuram official said the number of bus services to the railway station would increase after shifting the operation to the Central bus terminus, which is under construction near the Collectorate. The commuters' grievances would be taken to the knowledge of the higher officials.

PRITHVI RAJ ANBU
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