CHENNAI: Fares of cabs and autorickshaws shot through the roof after heavy rain crippled the transport network of the city on Sunday. While suburban trains were not operated throughout the day, only 10% of government buses remained on the roads in the city.
Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC), Chennai, usually operates 3,100 buses daily, but on Sunday, only 400 buses were operational.
Even those on the roads were unable to complete their trips due to traffic diversions and closure of subways. As a result, demand for auto and cabs shot up. The fare for longer trips was at least 200% higher than the usual rates. For instance, cabs demanded Rs.500 for travelling to Tambaram from Madipakkam. Usually, it costs less than Rs.300 even during peak hours, said R Raghu, a Madipakkam resident.
Since the Southern Railway shifted the departure of certain long-distance trains from Central station to Thiruvallur, Avadi, Beach, Thiruvottiyur and Perambur, many passengers had no other option but to pay a bomb to autorickshaws and cabs.
Departures of trains were delayed by at least three to four hours at Central. “Several commuters suffered because there was no reliable helpline to give info on status of suburban trains,” said T Sadagopan, a resident-activist from Avadi. The State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) and six other statetransport corporations managed to operate more than 16,000 buses to Chennai from other parts of the state.
Chief Minister MK Stalin requested people not to rush back to Chennai due to a prediction of more rain for the next two days.
At the airport, all flights were operated as scheduled, but many passengers missed flights as they were unable to reach the airport.