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Blog Entry# 3631358
Posted: Jul 15 2018 (14:10)

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Rail News
Jul 15 2018 (14:10)   Mission 5 minutes? At Central, Egmore stns, parking takes 10

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Entry# 3631358   News Entry# 345972         Tags   Past Edits
CHENNAI: The essence of the railways’s ‘mission five minutes’ is to create facilities to ensure that suburban commuters can get tickets in five minutes. But on most occasions, this is a tough challenge and commuters can deem themselves lucky if they get the ticket within five minutes.
Let’s break it down: On entering the railway premises in Chennai Central or Egmore, it can take at least 10 minutes to park vehicles in the poorly maintained parking lots. After that ordeal ends, it can take another 10 minutes to buy a ticket while waiting in long queues with staff refusing to open additional counters despite serpentine queues and Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) going bust at the same time.
Central is the single biggest nodal point for suburban commuters in the city, with at least two lakh people taking trains every day to go to the western suburbs on the Arakkonam section, northern suburbs on the Gummidipoondi section and taking long distance trains in all directions. More than 90% of Southern Railway’s passengers are in the unreserved segment.
Inside Chennai Central’s parking lot just behind the suburban terminal Moore Market Complex (MMC), the space has been extended to include at least three more rows of two-wheelers. However, the lanes are not levelled and there is construction debris protruding from the ground, which makes it a harrowing experience to park the vehicles.
This ordeal is second only to the one of standing in queues to book tickets. Suburban trains have a huge rush early in the morning and in the evening on the weekends as compared to office-time rush on weekdays. Despite this, only two of the four counters were open on Saturday morning at MMC. Just as queues were forming at the ATVM, it went bust.
“Leave aside suburban train tickets, it takes 20-30 minutes to buy just a platform ticket on Friday and Saturday night at Chennai Egmore and Central. Just one or two counters are operated despite the rush,” said S Anandan, 40. Railway officials said they are promoting the use of mobile-ticketing through which one can buy even platform tickets and avoid queues. Announcements in trains and stations are made to spread awareness about the same.

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