Demand for electric ferry carts outstrips supply at city railway station

Renuka Phadnis
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Carts are meant for elders and people with disabilities

One of the electric ferry carts at the Bangalore City Railway Station. —Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
One of the electric ferry carts at the Bangalore City Railway Station. —Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Girish, supervisor at the waiting room for senior citizens and people with disabilities, at the Bangalore City Railway Station, gets no break from phone calls. He is either on his mobile phone or walkie-talkie all through his duty hours. While he receives requests for the electric ferry cart on the mobile phone, he coordinates with the cart driver using his walkie-talkie.

Electric ferry cart service is provided for free for people who have difficulty in walking up to the platform to board the train. According to Mr. Girish, at least 100 people make use of the service between 4 a.m. and midnight each day. But as there are only three electric ferry carts at the station, the waiting period for people who want to make use of the service is long.

Sulochana S., a passenger, said she had to wait for a long time for the cart to arrive after she had made a request for the service for her husband who had undergone surgery. “One must wait for at least half-an-hour for the electric ferry cart to arrive,” she said.

Explaining why passengers have to wait for a long time for electric ferry cart to arrive, Damodar, ferry cart driver, says each of the platforms is crowded and it is a challenge to reach the passengers on board to their destinations on time. And at times, trains block the way of carts and that adds to the problem. While it might take a short duration to reach platform no. 10, it might take a longer time to reach platform no. 1 if a train blocks the way. In such a situation the cart driver is forced to take the round about route to help passengers reach their destinations.

However, S. Biswas, Public Relations Officer, South Western Railway, said trains blocking the carts’ movement was an exception and the carts could take another route. He added that the number of ferry carts cannot be increased as they were a risk on the tracks. Mr. Damodar suggested that those who want to take the electric ferry cart should arrive at the railway station well in time. A request for the cart can be placed by calling 9000789789.

He added that at least eight hours are needed to fully recharge the batteries of the carts. Those interested to avail themselves of the electric ferry cart service at the Bangalore City Railway Station can call 9000 789 789.




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