They say present schedule is suitable for students, teachers

Commuters, especially students and teachers, have opposed the move to revise the evening schedule of the Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) service from Kanyakumari to Kollam Junction.

From December 1, the 66305 Kanyakumari-Kollam MEMU has been operating from Kanyakumari at 4 p.m. instead of the earlier 4.25 p.m. to reach Kollam Junction at 9 p.m. instead of 9.45 p.m.

The MEMU reaches Thiruvananthapuram now at 6.40 p.m. instead of 7.40 p.m. and is convenient for hundreds of teachers and students who hail from the capital district. Now, Railways are planning to revert to the original schedule.

The schedule of the 66305 and three other trains were revised following the speeding up of the trains in the Kanyakumari-Kollam sector in the wake of improvements in tracks and signalling system. The increase in speed to 90 route km per hour in the sector had reduced the travel time in the Kollam-Kanyakumari sector by 15 to 55 minutes.

This had benefitted officer-goers, teachers, and students commuting to and from Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu to Thiruvananthapuram daily.

“The present timings are convenient for teachers and students as they can board the MEMU after working hours without wasting time. A change in schedule will upset their travel plans,” says Mayadevi, Associate Professor, Ayyappa College, Nagercoil, who commutes from the city.

The cost factor

A one-way bus ride from Thiruvananthapuram to Nagercoil costs Rs.51, while the train fare is only Rs.15. The season ticket in train for three months costs Rs.635. Also, commuters can reach the city earlier on MEMU.

“The trains are crowded till Balaramapuram and there are five crossings. Still, it is the preferred mode of transport,” she adds.

Rose Rani, another Associate Professor of the college, said the other option was to catch the passenger train that leaves Nagercoil at 6.15 p.m.

“It will affect our chores at home,” she adds.

On Friday too

The commuters’ another demand is MEMU service from Kanyakumari on Fridays. The service does not operate on that day as the eight-car rake is taken to the MEMU shed in Palakkad for service.

But, Railways had commissioned a MEMU shed in Kollam this week, they point out.