Recently, multiple points closed to enhance safety

The move to have all Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) stations function with a single entry and exit point has drawn mixed reactions from commuters.

A few weeks ago, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) along with Southern Railway’s engineering department decided to close several entry-exit points at MRTS stations across the city, for easier surveillance and enhanced safety of passengers.

Over the past few days, the engineering department has started constructing walls blocking multiple exits at stations. This, some commuters say, is inconveniencing them.

“It was easy for us when there were multiple exits. Now we have to walk that extra distance to reach our destination,” said S. Manivannan, who boards the MRTS train from Thiruvanmiyur and alights at Chintadripet daily.

For example, at the Mylapore MRTS station, the passenger can get out through the back entrance if he/she needs to reach Alwarpet and the front entrance to reach Luz. “The RPF should instead ensure that the stations are more secure. The railways should consider providing better illumination on all the floors. Culprits will always find a loophole in security measures,” said S. Maheshwari, who boards the MRTS train at Mylapore.

However, some commuters are in favour of closing down the multiple exit-entry points. “It is always better when we walk out or in in a group of commuters. Commuters, especially women, feel safer in a crowd than while walking alone,” said S. Priyadarshan, who uses the Light House MRTS station frequently.

The Southern Railway and the RPF conducted a joint study two months ago which revealed that commuters frequently leave the station premises through different exit points. As a result, it becomes difficult for RPF personnel to monitor all the gates at the same time.

Officials are of the opinion that, if commuters descended down the same staircase and used only one exit point, it would be easier for the RPF to monitor the crowds and prevent untoward incidents.

The patrolling system in stations has also been altered. The RPF personnel are posted on staircases instead of on platforms as most chain-snatching incidents happen at these spots. “We have also deployed women constables in ladies special trains,” said a RPF officer.

According to RPF sources, 11 crimes were reported at MRTS stations in 2011. But in 2012, the number dropped to six.

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