Hand-held ticketing machines offer help

There is some relief for car owners who use the parking lot at Chennai Central Railway Station. The parking attendants use hand-held ticketing machines and issue parking fee receipts giving details of the time at which the vehicle entered the parking lot. It also mentions the fee for various duration of parking.

Railway officials say the number of complaints from the users has minimised since the newly-assigned contractor started using the machines.

“Previously, we received quite a few written complaints as well as many oral complaints from the public about the parking attendants not issuing receipt or charging a higher fee,” said a Southern Railway official. While the Railways has been insisting on such hand-held machines for parking lots, the contractors have delayed it saying the machine cost add to their expenditure, the officials say.

Ramachandran won the contract for the parking lot for a three-year period at the Moore Market Complex. The contract for the premium parking space started this month and for the regular parking lot in March. The parking attendants have been given uniform and will soon be issued ID card too. The rates are clearly mentioned on the receipts and on the boards displayed at both the parking lots. The parking fee at the regular lot starts from Rs.10 (for three hours), while the premium parking space starts at Rs.25.

The fares remain the same, except for parking vans which has been increased from Rs.30 to Rs.60.

“On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at least 1,200 receipts are issued,” says S. Arumugan, manager of the parking lot.

According to Railway officials, nearly 3,000 taxis come to Chennai Central every day and managing parking is a huge challenge in the limited space. “There are plans to provide more space for people to walk but it all depends on the space available after the Metro Rail project,” the official said.

Many visitors to the Chennai Central said the hand-held machines would bring in better transparency. “I visit the station at least 10 times a month and many times I have had a argument as the parking attendant would note the wrong time or I would have to go in search of the person,” said V. Saravanan, working as a driver.

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