It can get pretty hot on the bus in the middle of the day when it fills to capacity, but that shouldn’t discourage you. The windows and doors remain open and so there’s usually a bit of a breeze passing through the bus. Women and children sit on one side and men on the other, though this isn’t a strict rule, it appears to be generally followed. Anyone can stand in the aisle, but locals (and tourists) are discouraged from riding on the steps leading into the bus. Public service announcements proclaim that to do so “is suicide”. Indeed, the bus jolts and surges a lot in traffic.
We rode the bus to Kapaleeshwarar Temple to see the poojas and brahmins during our two week stay in Chennai.
Payment for the bus is made to a uniformed worker on board. Often, the money is passed from the passenger to the money-changer via the other passengers. Change is returned the same way. In Chennai, bus travel is relatively friendly, straight-forward, and extremely affordable. It’s a good way to really see the city from a local’s perspective and get to know the subtleties of Chennai from the inside out.