The major development project executed in the State in the recent past is no doubt the widening of all the national highways into four-lane roads.
This project has given a boost to the economy of the State, besides providing much relief to the commuters and the fleet operators with the reduction in travel time and ensuring safe journey.
The Salem – Chennai stretch of the four-lane road via Attur, Kallakurichi and Villupuram covering a distance of 338 km has reduced the travel time between Salem and Chennai to a big extent.
Not only the drive is faster and safer, it is also proving a pleasurable experience.
However, the travelling public complain that despite such a good facility, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation take solid eight hours to cover the distance between Salem and Chennai.
This was in sharp contrast to the time taken by the omni buses, which cover the same distance in five hours and 30 minutes. The express trains, too, take only five hours for reaching Chennai from Salem.
The TNSTC buses touch the bus stands in all the major towns enroute, avoiding the bypass, and this is the main cause for the delay in reaching its final destination. Official sources said that the TNSTC buses from Salem, enter the tows of Attur, Kallakurichi, Thiagathurugam, Ulundurpet, Villuppuram, Dindivanam and Tambaram, avoiding the by-pass road.
They have to travel for about 15 minutes on the service roads to touch the bus stands in each and every town and return back to take the National Highway. The towns like Kallakurichi, Thiagathurugam etc always pose a busy look and frequent traffic snarls on the narrow main thoroughfares in these towns delay the buses.
Moreover the railway level-crossings in towns like Dindivanam too prove a bane, a cross section of the commuters complains.
In no other such major routes, the long distance buses are diverted on the service roads to touch the smaller towns, thus consuming more time and in turn causing hardship to the travelling public, says S. Ramasamy, a businessman of Shevvapet in the city. The decision of the TNSTC to divert the buses via service roads to touch the rural towns has defeated the very purpose of executing the four-lane and by-pass road projects, he says.
The TNSTC operates more than 30 services round-the-clock from Salem to Chennai daily. The irony is that it is not running even a single ‘point-to-point’ bus in this route, the public lament.
At least half of its services to Chennai should be converted into ‘point-to-point’ service, which will bring much solace to the travelling public and also attract more passengers towards the TNSTC services, says S. Banu, a housewife of Dalmia Board, a frequent traveller to Chennai. The ‘point-to-point’ service will enable in saving the travel time by atleast 90 minutes, she adds.
The State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) is operating at least five ‘point-to-point’ services a day – day time – two and overnight services – three – from Salem to Chennai. They cover the distance in seven hours, SETC sources said. When the buses are full, the SETC avoids entering the rural towns and proceed on the national highways till the final destination, the sources said.
As far as omni buses are concerned, their only destination is a tea break at some hotel on the National Highway.
Source : The Hindu