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Saturday, January 24, 2009

MTC begins operations from bus bay at Tambaram railway station

CHENNAI: It's a New Year gift for more than one lakh passengers who travel by Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses in Tambaram. Southern
Railway has from Thursday onwards allowed MTC and other town-service buses to pick up and drop passengers at its newly constructed bus bay inside the Tambaram railway station, bringing to an end a three-year wait for passengers.

"It's a big relief for senior citizens like me, thanks to the railways and the efforts taken by MTC," said 62-year-old S Vedalakshmi, a resident of Chengalpattu.

The new arrangement is the result of a series of talks held between Southern Railway and a team of MTC officials led by S Krishnamurthy, deputy commissioner, MTC (Mount division). Southern Railway finally realised that the opening of the bus bay would benefit train commuters, who have been walking nearly a km to board a bus outside the station.

"It's a team effort as both Southern Railway and MTC found common ground and decided to focus on the interest of commuters," M Hanifa, deputy manager, MTC (Tambaram - Operations), told TOI on Friday. Together with MTC traffic inspectors R Soundrapandian, A Nagaraj and Immanuel Arul Selvam, as well as traffic police personnel in Tambaram, Hanifa is in charge of easing traffic flow at the Tambaram Junction, diverting MTC and other town-service buses to the bus bay.

The bay was constructed in 2006 by Southern Railway along the lines of a similar facility at the Central railway station, to help train commuters and also to modernise Tambaram railway station by providing more amenities. However, the bus bay was never used as railway officials felt that a large number of passengers in its premises might lead to security problems. Also, work on the road overbridge to replace the level crossing near the Tambaram railway station prevented the bay being used.

The net result was that State Express Transport Corporation (SETC), Tamil Nadu State Corporation (Villupuram division), MTC and private buses would park on the service lane on Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road, near the Tambaram junction, to pick up waiting passengers. It led to traffic chaos, especially during morning and evening rush hours. The situation turned worse during festival seasons with the rush of people trying to avail bus and train services.Now, with the opening of the bus bay, traffic has eased to a large extent.

On an average, Tambaram records an increase of 30,000 passengers every year for MTC buses. Everyday, 1,500 MTC buses are run from Tambaram to Mamallapuram, Tiruporur (on OMR), Kovalam and Vadamalli (on ECR), Sriperambadur and Walajabad, among other places.

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