An 'Escalator' of Chennai MRTS Commuters' Woes

Even as Chennai is reeling under the joy of using the new and high-class Metro Rail service, City Express visits a few MRTS stations only to discover that most of them lack even basic facilities like functional escalators

Published: 02nd July 2015 03:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd July 2015 03:07 AM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI:  While the high-end facilities at the recently inaugurated Chennai Metro Rail have become the cynosure of Chennaiites’ eyes, facilities at the MRTS stations like escalators are in a state of neglect. At the Chepauk station, an escalator has been lying in shreds for a while now.

The MRTS, which is also known as Parakkum Rail by citizens due to its overhead corridor, was the first-of-its-kind in the country, when it began functioning more than two decades ago. It had raised the same curiosity and awe among Chennaiites, much like the Metro Rail.

 Many commuters, who spoke to CE, hoped that the escalators and other facilities at Metro Rail too wouldn’t be neglected over a period of time.

None of the six escalators is in working condition at the Chepauk and Chintadripet MRTS stations. The stations are frequented by a number of Madras University students, government staff working at Ezhilagam, and cricket lovers during the IPL season.

“MRTS is a big boon when we need to catch a train at Chennai Central. It’s a pain to deal with non-working escalators and a confusing layout of the station, when we need to reach the platform with luggage. It is tougher for the elderly,” said 50-year-old R Dhanashekar, a resident of Triplicane.

When asked for comments, the Chepauk Station superintendent seemed helpless.

“The escalators have been in a poor shape since 2011. We keep informing the administration quite often. It’s up to them to make the necessary repairs. It has become extremely difficult for us as well because everyday we get complaints from commuters,” he said.

At Chintadripet Station, the non-working escalators were at least in a better shape than the ones in Chepauk.  All three have been barricaded on both sides with metal chairs, making it tough to reach the steps, especially for passengers in a hurry to catch an arriving train.

“The escalators have not been working for the last two years. Despite making a complaint with the station officials, no repairs have been made,” said Prakash kumar, a medical representative.

This was corroborated by a station official, who said that despite repeated complaints to the electricity department in-charge of the upkeep of the escalators, they have not paid heed to it for the past three years. It was observed that escalators at stations serving the IT corridor like Indira Nagar, Kasturba Nagar and Thiruvanmiyur were in good working condition.  However, the ones at Greenways Road and Kotturpuram Stations were non-functional. Wherever they were working, all escalators were operational in one direction. As such, commuters are forced to use the stairs.

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