Press club of india, Indian tehalka News
Mayhem — no other word describes the situation around Chennai Central railway station more aptly.
A variety of factors, including haggling autorickshaw drivers, jaywalkers and drivers searching for parking space, ensure that being in the vicinity is a taxing experience.
Upon arriving at the railway station, a passenger struggling with heavy luggage is immediately surrounded by autorickshaw drivers who often demand exorbitant fares and harass passengers, especially those who seem new to the city.
This is in spite of all the raids conducted by the State transport department and the Chennai traffic police.
“The police should have prepaid autorickshaw counters on the station premises, from where anyone can get a ride. Now, we have to use the booth outside the station. It is difficult to climb the steep foot overbridges with luggage and manoeuvre through the buses entering the bay to get there,” says J. Ezhil, a resident of Tiruvottiyur.
K.S. Gopalakrishnan, former zonal railway users consultative committee member, says the State and Railways should install escalators on the two foot overbridges to help passengers cross Poonamalee High Road easily.
To avoid haggling with drivers, some passengers consider boarding an MTC bus. But, they are left clueless upon arriving at the bus bay on the station premises.
“It is hard to spot the bay where buses from Chennai Central halt. Information about routes and destinations should be properly displayed,” says M. Sayeed, who travels to Kerala frequently.
Worse still is the fate of those who come to drop their relatives as it is hard to find parking space. “The railways should hire a traffic planner and make optimum use of the existing parking area till the Metro Rail work is completed. A little redesigning may be needed meanwhile,” says Raj Cherubal, director, Chennai City Connect.