Twitter has come in handy for several tech-savvy railway passengers, helping them cut through the red-tape to take their grievances — from thefts, train delays and dirty compartments — to top Southern Railway officials at the touch of a button.
Deepak Gunasekaran (32), who spent an hour waiting at Perungalathur station on Friday morning, turned to the microblogging site to draw the attention of senior railway officials to the inordinate train delay. “@RailMinIndia @GMSRailway @DrmChennai local trains are unpredictable waiting at the station for last one hour in Perungulathur,” the IT professional tweeted at 11:35 am.
To his surprise, he got a response in four minutes from the official Twitter handle of the Southern Railway general manager. “informed drm chennai to look in to the matter pl,” @GMSRailway replied to the commuter. A few hours later, the office of the Chennai Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) offered Deepak the reason for the delay and expressed their “regret.”
Deepak said he didn’t expect a response. “I had previously used Twitter to express my grievances, but didn’t get any response. However, I got an immediate reply this time,” he said, adding that it would have been more beneficial if timely action was taken as well.
Similarly, when Kamalesh tweeted about an alleged theft in Train No. 09416 between Mangaluru Junction and Ahmedabad on Saturday, the general manager’s handle responded that the Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) had been alerted. Complaints about lack of amenities, dirty toilets, shortage of water, unclean coaches and poor lighting on foot overbridges (FOB) have also been expressed by commuters on social media sites. The Southern Railway is also using Twitter as a tool to connect with the masses.
“The social media site was helpful to us in reaching out to the masses during the floods. We used it to quickly pass on information about special trains that were to begin their journey within in four or five hours,” Southern Railway general manager Vashishta Johri told City Express. As a result, many people could board the special trains, he noted.