Chennai's Bus Day back in focus: 10 things to know

It is one of those traditions in a city that is pretty much hated by everyone but the revellers.

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Chennai's Bus Day back in focus: 10 things to know


Not all traditions are good. Some bad traditions are easy to get rid of, and others are damn near impossible to stop. Chennai's Bus Day is one of those torrid traditions. It is back in focus again this year - not for any good reason, again - after a viral video showing revellers falling off the roof a bus when the driver stopped the vehicle.

Here are 10 things to know about Chennai's Bus Day:

   1.   Bus Day is a tradition among college students in Chennai. When it began in the early 1970s, its was meant to be a day of thanksgiving towards the drivers and conductors of the city's buses towards the end of the academic year. But today, it is an opportunity for hooliganism that often descends into violence.

   2.   Bus Day may have made sense in a city that has long been served by its dense network of city buses, which were earlier called PTC buses for Pallavan Transport Corporation. In 1997, it was renamed Metropolitan Transport Corporation, and hence PTC buses.

   3.   And here is how the students celebrate Bus Day. They get on buses plying the route they take to their colleges every day, give gifts to drivers and conductors and make merry. Unfortunately, this is a day when even students who don't usually take buses get on the buses just to take part in the 'fun'.

   4.   Now, on Bus Day, students from a particular college will band together and board one of the buses on one of the routes. Like, literally board it, every part of it - roof, windows, doorways and even rear view mirrors. They then drum away to glory while singing songs, sometimes damaging the buses while they are at it.

   5.   The problem comes when some of these gangs descend into catcalling or harassing women on the bus. Problems and arguments have also escalated into bloodletting when students have carried machetes, swords, scythes and other weapons to hold up during the celebration.

   6.   Efforts have been made a number of times to curb these Bus Day celebrations. But the success of these efforts have given new meaning to the word 'failure'. The Madras High Court has even gotten involved, pulling up police officials and college administrations and demanding why they can put an end to this.

   7.   College administrations say they do not have control over their students while they are not on campus, and have expressed an inability to do anything about it.

   8.   Police say when they attempt to prevent the celebrations from taking place or to regulate the way it plays out, they face protests and even violence and stone pelting at the hands of the students.

   9.   Almost every single year, Chennai Police ends up arresting a whole bunch of students for one infringement or the other. But the torrid affair continues.

   10.  There have been attempts to expand Bus Day into Train Day, in 'honour' of Chennai's suburban trains, but these have not taken off with the force of Bus Day.

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