Suvarna, 19, a student of an engineering college in Bandlaguda, commutes all the way from Sitaphalmandi to Falaknuma by MMTS train everyday and spends Rs. 10 on the two-way journey.

But, her predicament begins when she gets down at the Falaknuma Railway Station. She has to shell out another Rs. 20 to reach her college, barely 2 km away. “There is no bus service from the station, and scores of my colleagues are forced to walk about a kilometre to catch the bus, so we opt for sharing autos,” says Suvarna.

Later, auto-rickshaws flock to the college to ferry students back to the railway station. “They make about Rs. 80 for a trip, as against Rs. 30 they should actually get, if they go by the meter,” says Navneet, a management student. While MMTS services are a blessing for scores of travellers everyday, lack of bus connectivity is causing hardship to many commuters. Many such services have been discontinued, with “lack of patronage” being touted as the official reason.

Inadequate number of ticket counters is another issue. At Dabeerpura, Yakutpura and Uppuguda railway stations, there is just one counter. “Many a time, the train departs before we manage to take the ticket, or we are forced to run to board it,” Qasim, a commuter, maintains.

Safety is another factor. “Tipplers get into the trains from Secunderabad and Vidyanagar and sleep on seats. They are very rude and often end up quarrelling with fellow riders,” says another traveller.