Chennai: About half of the city’s population uses public transport daily, yet authorities concerned fail to provide proper bus shelters.
As a result, people are forced to wait in the sweltering heat. Though resident associations in Madipakkam, Adyar, Nanganallur and other parts of the city have been complaining about this for a long time now, authorities have turned a deaf ear to the woes.
A unique problem has cropped up in a few bus shelters made using steel. Since steel is a good conductor of heat, it becomes very difficult for commuters to sit under the shelter.
“With the temperature crossing 40 degree Celsius in the city for the past few days, sitting under the bus shelter made of steel is like sitting on a gas stove. It almost burns your entire body. The agencies concerned should avoid using steel for setting up bus shelters,” Monica from Alandur told Deccan Chronicle.
When this newspaper tried contacting authorities from Chennai Corporation, Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) and state highways department seeking to know why bus shelters are not being maintained properly, the officials just tried to shift the blame to other departments instead of giving a response.
“There are two departments that take care of road transport in Chennai. All shelters on highway come under state highways department, while others are taken care of by the corporation,” said an official from Chennai corporation.
“Some of the areas are beyond corporation limit and come under municipality. I will ask the electrical wing to look after the wires and put a word to seniors about steel shelters,” he said.
Senthil, a resident of Iyyapanthangal near Porur explains the problems being faced by them. “There were two bus stops near the signal that were shifted 100 metres away from it to control traffic. But, the bus shelter didn’t shift, forcing people to wait under blazing sun. Due to bleak response from corporation, we built it ourselves pooling in money from residents. To our dismay, it was brought down by an anonymous JCB machine,” he said.
Valmiki, a resident of Guindy, said most of the bus shelters on the busy GST Road and arterial Anna Salai from Pallavaram towards the Gemini Bridge in Nungambakkam are made of steel.
“Also, the material is so delicate that half of the seats got damaged in less than six months,” he said.
While people are trying to cope up with the ill maintenance of bus stops, dangling electric wires worsen the condition. “In some of the prime localities like Chellammal College, Velachery and Saidapet, the shelters with electricity connection are weird and wired,” said Shruti.
The stainless sheets of the seats are bright and sleek. But they do not serve the purpose for which they are built. In the scorching heat of Chennai the seats are too hot to sit on. Passengers continue to stand in the new bus shelters. The seats made of cement are passenger friendly.— Chandrasekhar, Besant Nagar
I pay taxes and also for travel, which means the authorities have to ensure proper maintenance. The corporation needs to take action against shelters and try to bring back the stone benches.— Daniel, Anna Nagar
Not only shelters, buses are also not maintained properly. Imperative steps are needed and if not the entire shelter, the seats can be replaced with a heat-resistant material.— Nimalan, Velachery
Madipakkam, Nanganallur, Ayyapanthangal, DMS, SIET, Pandian (Tondiarpet), ESI Chromepet, NSK Nagar Aminjikarai, Tambaram
Velachery, Saidapet, Chellammal College, Nungambakkam, T Nagar, KMC