Chennai: A day after Chennai Metro Rail Limited started penalising commuters not wearing masks, regular commuters urged CMRL to reintroduce the special class coach or add a coach so maintaining physical distance during commute, amid increasing footfalls, is easier. On Sunday, the day it started imposing fines, CMRL went easy on passengers and pulled up only two for not wearing mask.
Since metro train services resumed in September after a five-month lockdown, footfalls have touched 80% of the pre-covid daily average of 1.16 lakhs. As the footfalls are inching towards pre-Covid numbers, passengers complained that maintaining a safe distance in the four-car trains operated now is not possible. The trains are run every 5 minutes during peak hours. Hence, many regular commuters who earlier travelled in special class coach paying double the normal ticket fare want it back. A few months ago, CMRL converted special class coach into women’s-only coach to facilitate physical distancing. A few commuters have also taken to CMRL’s social media account and posted images of crowded metro trains, asking metro rail to take action and ensure safety.
“The trains are packed during peak hours. Despite the markings on the seats to keep distance, eight people sit in a five-seater,” said S Lakshmi, a government employee who travels from Thirumangalam to LIC station every day for work. “We are ready to pay double the ticket fare. CMRL should either introduce a special class again or add a coach,” she added.
A CMRL official said it won’t be possible to add a coach. “Our trains are designed for four-cars,” the official said. “But we have special teams that do surprise checks and a team monitoring passengers through CCTV cameras in trains.”