Bus services to neighbouring states take a big hit, some routes suspended

With the State government appealing to the public not to take up travel to neighbouring states unless necessary as part of measures to control the spread of novel coronavirus, interstate bus services to Kerala and Karnataka from border districts have been suspended.
Bus services to neighbouring states take a big hit, some routes suspended
Ukkadam bus stand wears a deserted look and (right) passengers with masks on a bus on Wednesday


Almost 43 buses to Kerala and 30 buses to Karnataka plying from the Coimbatore division comprising Coimbatore, Erode, Tirupur and the Nilgiris have been stopped due to low patronage and as part of measures to prevent spread of the infection, a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) official said.

In addition, 169 buses operated by the TNSTC from Coimbatore to other districts, including Erode, Salem, Karur, Madurai and other places, have been stopped due to poor occupancy following COVID-19 scare. “The suspended services will be resumed if required,” said Anbu Abraham, Managing Director, TNSTC, Coimbatore division. 1,018 TNSTC buses are operated in the district.

The bus services to Kerala and Karnataka operated through the Nilgiris were also brought to a grinding halt in the state borders on Wednesday. Buses plied only till Pattavayal and Sholadi in Gudalur on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border.

Similarly, buses from Kerala were stopped at the border, forcing passengers to change buses to reach their destination. Also, buses from Bengaluru and Mysuru to Ooty through the Gudalur route remained suspended.

The services were cancelled in the wake of the Nilgiris district administration closing down all tourist spots that in turn resulted in public transport services taking a hit in patronage. Tourists have also been advised not to visit the hill district until situation returns to normalcy.

The people in Gudalur, who visit Kerala for availing medical services, lamented over the inconvenience of having to change buses in the borders. “Gudalur lacks adequate medical facilities. So residents from the region visit hospitals in Kerala to undergo treatment. The suspension of buses has caused us agony,” said R Govindammal, an elderly resident of Gudalur.

Meanwhile, Anbu Abraham said that all the buses are being disinfected on a daily basis and that the crew are advised to wear masks when the passenger crowd is sizeable.

Most of the bus stands, including Singanallur, Gandhipuram and Ukkadam, on Wednesday wore a deserted look as a result of the measures.

Further, medical teams have been deployed in all Tamil Nadu-Kerala border check posts to screen people entering the State and to disinfect vehicles.

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