As the parking area is more than a foot below the road level, even a brief spell of shower causes problems
CHENNAI: Commuters using the suburban train service from West Mambalam rue the lack of parking facilities on the Station Road there.
The parking lot currently accommodates around 500 to 600 scooters and motorcycles, and around 200 bicycles according to commuters and parking lot attendants. But if the place is properly maintained, it is possible to park more vehicles, they point out.
L. Srividhya, a regular commuter, says her efforts to approach the railway officials did not yield results.
As the parking area is more than a foot below the road level, even a brief spell of shower causes problems as rainwater stagnates.
Construction debris has been piled up in several parts of the parking lot. The attendants said that as quite a few vehicles are left overnight, they have to be shifted to make way for vehicles left in their custody for a short duration.
“The approach path from the road is a muddy slope. And that makes it difficult for exiting vehicles,” Ms. Srividhya said.
P. Sripriya, who commutes from West Mambalam to Egmore, leaves for work 10 minutes early, fearing that she may not be able to find a proper parking slot.
Since the owners lock their vehicles and the attendants do not have the keys, the attendants drag the vehicles causing damage. The closure of the cemented parking lot on northern side of the booking counter has added to the chaos.
A person who travels for 25 days a month on work would have to park his vehicle for the entire day. While the season ticket from Mambalam to Beach Station costs Rs. 234 for three months, one has to shell out Rs. 300 every month for parking alone, rues a commuter from Ashok Nagar.
Parking attendants have their own tale of woe. They say the pay is poor and the remuneration from parking fees is not attractive enough to facilitate improvement. Even the shed that has been put up would be removed once the contract ended, they say.
Southern Railway sources, however, said that the contractor is expected to maintain the parking lot. On whether there was a possibility of shifting the booking counters to another place, the source said most people who travelled to the suburbs or travelled without reserving tickets beforehand, needed a facility close to the railway station.