Chennai: Risky footboard travel makes a comeback as schools reopen – Times of India

Chennai News

CHENNNAI: Travelling in already-overflowing Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses has now become riskier with schoolchildren back to dangling from the footboards.
Ever since schools in Chennai reopened on Monday, dangerous journeys on footboards have once again become a common sight. “Students prefer ordinary buses as they don’t have doors,” said RM Swamy from SVS-AAP transport workers’ union.
Ordinary buses, which are cheaper compared to express and deluxe category buses, were already overcrowded during the peak hours as women can travel for free only in these buses.
MTC bus drivers are unable to see vehicles overtaking from the left side because these students, hanging on to window grills, footboards and sometimes even the rooftops, completely block the side-view mirror. So, it has made commuting very dangerous, Swamy said.
Nearly 50% of the MTC buses are operated as ordinary buses as these don’t have automatic doors, according to official data. “So, the corporation needs to either replace old buses or fix doors for all soon. In addition to MTC, other state agencies should also take this issue seriously. ” said R Rengachari, a transportation activist.
Chennai City Traffic Police with the help of school headmasters earlier avoided crowding at bus stops near their institutions. Students were segregated (based on their residences) at the school ground and allowed to disperse in batches. But now they board buses in crowds, he said.
More often than not, quarrels between MTC conductors and students have ended in brawls. Police cases are filed, and students are reportedly let off with a warning. “But no one is worried about the injured conductor or his safety,” said Siva, an MTC staff member.
Last year, the Chennai City Police launched a helpline (9087552233) for the public to complain about such issues. But it is non-functional now, he said.