Passengers from the southern districts can now travel to Chennai in luxury AC buses at reasonable fares, thanks to an initiative by the Tamil Nadu State Express Transport Corporation (SETC).

To meet the increasing demand for air-conditioned buses during the summer season, SETC recently introduced Volvo AC buses from Madurai, Sivaganga, Theni, Thoothukudi, Nagercoil and Tirunelveli to Chennai.

Initially, a single night service has been introduced from the southern districts to Chennai, and an AC bus from Chennai to the districts of the south launched. The SETC initiative has come as a major relief for commuters, especially the cost element. For example, it costs only Rs 420 to travel by an AC bus between Chennai and Madurai.

R Sargunam, a private company employee and a frequent traveller said the travel time was less than nine hours. “It costs Rs 870 to travel by the Volvo buses run by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses from Madurai to Bengaluru. For the same distance, we have pay Rs 420 for SETC service. More such buses should be introduced,” he said.

AC bus services between Madurai and Chennai were monopolised by private omnibuses till now. Cashing in on high passenger demand, private omnibuses would charge Rs 700–Rs 950 a ticket. The fare would go up to Rs 1,100–Rs 1,300 a ticket during the weekends.

“If we don’t get train tickets to Chennai, AC buses would be the next best alternative. The SETC can increase the charges slightly, but it should maintain the buses properly,” said V Kathiresan from Anna Nagar.

A senior SETC official said they expect three to four AC buses to be added to the fleet.

“In addition to the buses departing from Madurai, those from Thoothukudi, Tirun- elveli, Virudhunagar and Nagercoil will pass through Mattuthavani if the seats are vacant,” added an official.

News : The New Indian Express