Students facing struggle to travel in TNSTC Bus; Video…

The ill-maintained buses being operated by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation in the city and to smaller towns around give unforgettable experiences to passengers as damaged steel pipes and corroded metal sheets inflict bleeding injuries to them.

Most of the city buses and the vehicles being operated to smaller towns should have been decommissioned from service by this time. However, non-availability of adequate number of buses has forced the cash-starved TNSTC’s Tirunelveli division to continue to operate such buses.

When passengers boarded a low-floor bus at the new bus stand on Monday evening, they had to be cautious as thin and corroded ‘support pipes’ near the ‘conductor’s seat’ at the rear entrance had suffered fractures at two spots.

One of the passengers tied the fractured spots with a towel, as a temporary safety measure.

“This is the ‘costliest service’ being operated in the city as I have to pay Rs. 7 for my 2 km travel between Vaeinthaankulam new bus stand and Palayamkottai bus stand. But, the vehicles, which are in the worst shape, make even this brief travel unsafe and many passengers have suffered bleeding injuries as the precariously protruding broken pipes and metal sheets cut the hands,” said a revenue department official working at Nanguneri taluk office.

A TNSTC driver said that they were working under tremendous pressure as poor maintenance of the buses due to non-availability of spares and funds had made the buses unsafe.

“We can’t guarantee a safe travel to commuters as shortage of quality spares and poor maintenance due to shortage of funds have made the already aged vehicles totally unsafe,” he said.

Admitting that shortage of funds had badly affected maintenance of buses, a senior official said that the TNSTC’s Tirunelveli division used to take every bus to the depot for comprehensive maintenance once in six months. “We’re in the process of getting 120 new buses within the next two months, and the badly damaged buses will be replaced by new ones,” he said.

Most of the buses impounded by various courts for non-payment of relief to accident victims or their relatives had been brought back to service following disbursal of compensation, he added.