Breakdowns bug MTC passengers

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Subscribers to the city police’s traffic alert service routinely get messages such as “MTC bus breakdown at Tidel park junction, vehicles moving slowly”, as buses breaking down in the middle of the roads has become the order of the day, affecting vehicle movement on arterial roads and leaving passengers stranded.

MTC authorities claim that a few buses in the 3,000-plus strong fleet breaking down on a single day is not a major problem.

However, the bus crew and technical staff point out that lack of quality spares and understaffed technical wing are the major causes of the increasing breakdowns and also point fingers at the poorly-maintained Chennai roads.

“Several buses are being operated with substandard spare parts. For instance, the joint axle and axle nuts break quite often within a short time of purchase.

Authorities do not bother to replace the worn out parts on time, resulting in midway breakdowns,” says a driver, preferring anonymity.

“Operating buses with old tyres (retread) on front wheels is a major reason for the frequent punctures of tyres,” he says.

Purchasing substandard spares is not new and had started during the previous DMK regime, says Anbalagan, president of the TN Transport Corporation Employees Federation.

“They buy tyres from a company and accessories such as flaps from some other firms, resulting in punctures.

Earlier the authorities used to purchase spares from reputed firms such as TVS but now they purchase these from local companies,” he points out.

Crew members point to the lack of technical staff as a reason for the problem. “A meager 30 employees have to take care of maintenance of more than 172 buses at a depot at night. How can one expect proper maintenance?

As a result of the heavy burden, several employees fix only 6 bolts to a radiator, instead of the 10 that are needed and this also leads to breakdowns,” points out another driver.

MTC authorities could not be reached for comment.

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