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Kanniah, a retired police official, almost fought a battle on Tuesday afternoon to take his two wheeler out of a cramped parking lot at a suburban railway station under the scorching sun. The senior citizen’s motorcycle was entangled with haphazardly parked vehicles, consuming about 30 ‘hard’ minutes to move out of the premises. But, what followed was more appalling. When a desperate motorist attempted to park his two-wheeler in the tiny vacated space, he was shown the doors by an employee at the parking lot citing spill over of vehicles.Acute shortage of space in parking lots at railway stations in Chennai is causing untold miseries for passengers, forcing commuters to run from pillar to post, scouting for space to park their two wheelers. Even the private parking lots that mushroomed to meet the growing demand around the stations are greeting rail users with ‘parking full’ boards. Take the St Thomas... Read more...
Mount railway station in South Chennai for instance. It is an important hub station used by thousands of passengers from various residential colonies dotted across the 10-kilometre long Medavakkam Main Road every day. Though many commute by two wheelers to board Electric Multiple Unit services from St Thomas Mount, limited space at parking lots in and around the station is hampering their smooth journey. The hapless motorists either drive vehicles straight to workplaces or knock the doors of neighbours, in the event of being turned away at the parking lots. “I was fortunate enough to park my vehicle in a friend’s place close by for a day in one such critical situation. But, others cannot afford to do so,” a traveller claimed. Though six parking lots are functioning in this area, they are struggling to cater to the growing demand from motorists-cum-train travellers. In fact, many stations between Beach and Tambaram are crying for space, putting passengers in a fix. Issuance of monthly passes for motorists at the parking lot in Pallavaram railway station has been stopped owing to its saturation. Pallavaram is yet another significant intermediate station used by people from a considerable number of residential colonies and surrounding villages. “At times, office-goers return home without a slot at the parking lot. The situation is becoming bad,” Nicholas, a passenger from Pammal observed. A section of travellers complain of damage to their two wheelers at parking lots. While Saravanan from Saidapet claims he had stopped replacing indicator lights after it was broken twice at the parking lot, Shankar from Pattalam in North Chennai showed scratches on his two wheelers to support the charges. “It is the result of dumping more motorcycles beyond the capacity,” he opined. Moreover, parking lots in major stations such as Egmore and Tambaram are operating without roofs, exposing vehicles to direct sunlight. “People may not have the ‘luxury’ of parking their vehicles even in such poor conditions if they do not reach before office hours,” Shankar rued.