Women and transgender people can travel for free in only 11 of 320 buses in Nilgiris

A Coonoor-based activist said the number of government buses operating within the towns of Udhagamandalam, Coonoor and Kotagiri had been reduced by the TNSTC in the last few years, while 110 private mini buses have been given permission to operate within town limits

Women and transgender persons can only travel for free in 11 of the 320 Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) buses operating in the Nilgiris district.

Officials from the TNSTC in the Nilgiris said that the scheme, announced by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, was implementable in only six designated town buses in Udhagamandalam and five buses in Coonoor, and for none of the buses in Gudalur and Pandalur taluks. The remaining 309 buses have been designated as mofussil buses, officials said.

S. Manogaran, a Coonoor-based activist and president of the Coonoor Consumer Protection Association, said that the number of government buses operating within the towns of Udhagamandalam, Coonoor and Kotagiri had been reduced by the TNSTC in the last few years, and that 110 private mini buses had been given permission to operate within town limits.

“These buses charge a minimum fee of ₹10 per ticket,” said Mr. Manogaran in a petition calling for increasing the number of town buses plying in the Nilgiris. “In other districts, town buses are allowed to operate for a distance of 30 km from the nearest town, but this is not the case in the Nilgiris, where TNSTC town buses operate only for a distance of 10 km within town limits,” he alleged.

In a list of demands, Mr. Manogaran called for increasing the number of town buses. He also called for a reduction in the number of permits issued to private mini buses, and called for limited stop service (LSS) buses to charge the same amount for tickets from passengers as that of regular service buses.

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