Though heavy rain on Thursday morning came as a relief from the sweltering heat, it wasn’t welcomed by office-goers who found it difficult to reach their destinations -- especially when there was ‘scant’ public transport available.
Private buses and three-wheelers cashed in on the situation and overcharged commuters. Though officials of the Lucknow Metropolitan Transport Services (LMTS) claimed that the bus strike was over, there was no end to commuters’ woes -- at least in the first half of the day.
Almost all the 180 city and several Roadways buses had remained off the roads on Tuesday and Wednesday. The UPSRTC’s contractual employees were agitating to pressurise the state government to accept their 14-point charter of demands, which included service benefits and facilities at par with that of the permanent staff members of the corporation.
On Wednesday, officials claimed things would return to normal from Thursday. But the claims fell flat, as buses did not pick up passengers from any of the 35 stipulated routes. As rains started around 9 am, passengers were left with no options but to find a place in the already cramped three-wheelers or private buses. “You don’t have options when it rains. Either you have to stand under a shelter, which is scarce in the state capital because majority of them are encroached by vendors, or struggle hard to get inside a bus or a three-wheeler. And this is exactly what I did to reach office in time,” said Tithi, an office-goer.
Commuters on route from Engineering College crossing to Chinhat, Munshipulia to Sikanderbagh and those going from Chinhat to Hazratganj faced difficulties in the morning. In the noon, however, buses came on the roads. For those returning home from offices there was some reprieve. Officials said all the buses were running and there shall be no more trouble for the commuters.