Chennai, Feb. 25: Senior citizens availed of the facility of travelling in Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) buses free of cost for the first time, on Wednesday.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had announced last week that citizens over the age of sixty could travel on all non A/C government buses free of cost from February 24.
The astounding response to the scheme by the elderly was welcomed by Arun Ravendra Daniel, Senior Deputy Manager (HRD), MTC. “Since Saturday, we have distributed tokens to over 22,000 people. There is a huge line in the terminals so we have opened more counters.”
Regarding the process for obtaining free tokens, Tamil Selvarajam, Assistant Director (Public Relations), MTC said that ten tokens will be issued to senior citizens on a monthly basis. The elderly need to get an identity card from MTC depots by filling up an application form along with a photograph.
At the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus, Mythili Raghavan (76) who had been waiting for three hours in the queue to get her free tokens praised the initiative of the government. “It is a nice start but only ten trips free of cost are allowed in a month. The government should give us more tokens,” said Raghavan.
The launch of the scheme also coincided with the Chief Minister’s 68th birthday and D. Mayadevam (64) thanked Amma for the gift. “Free tokens means now I can save up to Rs. 300 every month,” he said.
Hundreds of elderly lined up in a queue at Thiruvanmiyur Bus Depot, where a camp has been set up to assist them with the application form. The verification requires a photocopy of either the Voter ID card, Aadhar card or Ration card at the time of form submission.
The tokens are being distributed across 42 depots in the city from nine in the morning till seven in the evening. The application form can also be downloaded from the MTC website.
“The scheme if implemented well in Chennai will be later extended to other cities in the State,” added Daniel.