Senior citizens are now required to pay for using the battery car at the Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. MGR Chennai Central railway station. The battery-operated cars were introduced by Southern Railway free of cost to benefit aged commuters.
But in the past few months the railway administration has allowed the battery-car operator to charge for the services.
Though the commuters do not mind paying, social activists are upset over the removal of the free service without a proper announcement. T. Yuvaraj, a resident of Nanganallur, said in the past few months whenever he took his aged parents to the Central railway station, he was charged ₹10 per head by the battery-car driver.
A senior official of Southern Railway said the car service initially was free of cost. At the time of launch, the department allowed the operator to fix advertisements on vehicles to monetise the operational cost.
But when the contract came up for renewal six months ago, the railway department changed the policy. The contractor could not make money from advertisements and instead was allowed to charge the commuters. The amount was fixed at ₹10 per person.
A section of commuters who use their own vehicles to drop the passengers are facing parking problems due to lack of proper facility.
A senior official said after Metro Rail took over land for constructing the station, the administration has been facing space constraint for providing passage to commuters.