There was overwhelming response from suburban electric train commuters to a survey conducted by representatives of civic groups on Tuesday, on the quality of amenities in railway stations in the southern suburbs of the city.
Cutting across age groups and occupations, the response from participants was a pointer, say social workers, to commuters’ expectations from Southern Railway.
The survey was conducted by Traffic and Transportation Forum, a civic group which includes members from residents’ welfare associations, retired government employees and others.
A questionnaire was distributed to nearly 1,000 commuters at Pazhavanthangal, Chromepet and Tambaram railway stations between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The survey touched upon various issues including the safety of women, quality of existing amenities and facilities that were required but not provided by Southern Railway, frequency of electric trains, waiting time at ticket counters and problems faced by senior citizens.
“There is a lot of confusion with regard to electric trains. While one is a 12-car train, the next is a 9-car train. We have to run from one spot to the other as the position of the compartment changes every time. Senior citizens find it extremely difficult,” said Parivallal Srimathy, a class XI student of the Government Higher Secondary School in Nanganallur. She added that many railway stations lacked safe drinking water.
However, commuters were satisfied with the fare structure as well as with the time taken to reach their offices, compared to travel by road Senior citizens were uniformly of the opinion that facilities in all railway stations for the comfort of the elderly, differently-abled and the sick were woefully inadequate.
Members of the Forum also pointed out that ticket counters were located in only one corner of stations, forcing commuters to walk long distances. They also said most railway stations were unfriendly to senior citizens. One of the Forum’s suggestions was that fast trains between Tambaram and Chennai Beach during the morning rush hour halt at St. Thomas Mount and Nungambakkam, to ease crowds in the regular services. Also, care should be taken to beautify platforms and their surroundings, plug holes in compound walls to prevent trespass-related deaths.
Responses to the survey would be compiled and a comprehensive report would be submitted to Southern Railway authorities, the Forum said.