BENGALURU: It has been a little over a month since the reservation office at Cantonment railway station was shifted inside the station premises. However, there has been no intimation of the change to the public. Senior citizens are particularly affected as they have to walk some distance to book tickets.
Next to the main entry of the station was a huge building which housed the reservation office on its first floor earlier. Now, three reservation counters have been shifted to the entry of Platform 1 while two counters have been shifted to the rare entry, popularly referred to as the Jayamahal side entry.
There is no intimation of the change. As a consequence, people climb a steep flight of stairs to reach the old booking office and alight when they see it shuttered.
“Almost every day for the past one month, we have been answering queries from at least 60 people a day who come to book tickets here. After visiting the old location, they come and ask us about the reservation counters,” says Imtiaz Ahmed, seated in the prepaid taxi counter here.
What is particularly inexplicable is the shifting of the counter for senior citizens and disabled persons to the back entry which leads to Platform 2. This counter also doubles up as the current booking (last minute reservation) counter.
“Senior citizens first visit the old premises, then come to Platform 1 and then learn that the counter for senior citizens is on the other side. They have to use the foot overbridge to reach it. The other option is to walk a long route or take an auto to the other entry,” said a shop owner here.
Prabhakar Murthy, a senior citizen hoped the previous arrangement would be restored. “We have buses and autos stopping bang in front of the main entry. It was so convenient for us to get down and buy the tickets. It is difficult at my age to go over the bridge to book tickets.”
Antony P I, a retired executive in a private firm, said, “I personally like this as I have a car and there is more parking space at the back entrance. When the counter was in the front entry, I had to park my car and cross the road to the booking counter. But I do agree that senior citizens using buses will find the new counter tough to access.”
A top official here conceded, “We are receiving complaints from senior citizens after the counter was shifted.”
Asked about the reasons for the shift, Divisonal Railway Manager, Bangalore Division, Sanjiv Agarwal, said, “We plan to convert the previous reservation office into retirement rooms or dormitories as
Cantonment station lacks them.”
Senior Divisional Commercial Manager N R Sridharamurthy said, “The number of senior citizens coming to book tickets is not very high. Hence, it is not affecting a big number.” The idea behind shifting one counter to Platform 2 was
to make it easy for passengers who go in for current booking, he said. “Most Chennai-bound trains depart from Platform 2 only and many passengers book tickets for those trains at
the last minute. This really helps them board the trains easily.”