Tamil Nadu

Metro Rail is still a source of wonder

CMRL officials remain unsure of the user patterns as the service is full on weekends, but remains low on weekdays

Though it has been a month, Chennaiites still seem enthralled by the new entrant to the transport scene— Metro Rail. So far, over 7.5 lakh people have travelled by the service since it was launched in the last week of June.

Though they aren’t too many takers during the weekdays, the trains are running packed during the weekends. Alandur and Koyambedu have the highest traffic while Ekkatuthangal has the lowest. But, the ridership patters are still not clear, say officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL). “People are still taking joy rides as tourists would. So, it is very difficult to say what the traffic during peak hour is or the lean is. It may take a few more months to gauge the pattern. But, Alandur and Koyambedu are always crowded because they are hubs,” an official says.

CMRL has earned Rs. 2.07 crore so far. Though commuters are satisfied with the maintenance of trains and stations, the challenge is in sustaining this quality, they say.

Friendships during commutes

Travelling to work on public transport can be a tedious affair. Crowded stations, delayed buses and trains, and standing for hours together though sometimes gives rise to unusual friendships and pastimes.

For 15 commuters in the third last compartment of the 9.05 Pallavaram suburban train, for example, the boredom of commute is alleviated by their passion for music. Every morning, members of the group get on at different stations and meet up in the compartment to sing through their ride.

R. Srinivasan, a member of the group, joined in around seven years ago. “It was by chance that I got in to the train in the third last compartment, and I noticed a group which was singing. After that, I continued to get into the same compartment, and every day, we sing different tunes,” he said.

Each of the group members sings a different song in turn. “While we are friends on the train, and look forward to the morning commute, a few of us are friends otherwise too,” he said.

This is not the only commuter group on Chennai’s public transport. There is a group of friends that meet everyday at the lady’s compartment in the 5.10 p.m.

MRTS train from Velachery, and another one that sings on the 8.30 a.m. train from Arakkonam to Central Station.

While it may be a friendship that lasts just half-an-hour a day, the associations are anything but fleeting.

Reporting by

Sunitha Sekar and

Kavita Kishore

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:27:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/metro-rail-is-still-a-source-of-wonder/article7476238.ece

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