Relax suburban train restrictions, demand college students

“Our classes begin between 8.15 am and 9.30 am and it’s impossible to reach on time if we are not allowed to travel during peak hours,” said a college student from Thiruvallur.
Passengers wait for suburban trains at Central Station in Chennai | Express
Passengers wait for suburban trains at Central Station in Chennai | Express

CHENNAI: The Southern Railway policy to restrict male passengers during peak hours (7 am to 9.30 am and 4.30 pm to 7 pm) in suburban trains has severely affected students as they are unable to make it to classes on time. As colleges reopened on Monday, students hailing from Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Arakkonam and Tiruvallur found it difficult to reach colleges as they depend on suburban trains for transportation. 

“Our classes begin between 8.15 am and 9.30 am and it’s impossible to reach on time if we are not allowed to travel during peak hours,” said a college student from Thiruvallur. Half the male students studying in two private colleges in Pattabiram and Thirunidravur reached only by around 11.30 am on Tuesday, while the classes began at 8.30 am.

Meanwhile, disabling of ticket booking on app during peak hours is forcing the students to stand in long queues. Tambaram, Chengalpattu, Arakkonam, Tiruvallur, Avadi, Pattabiram and Thirunindravur stations witnessed serpentine queues at ticket counters. “The male students are issued tickets from 9.20 am onwards. Since, we have to purchase tickets at counters everyday, the railways should at least allow us to buy them via the UTS mobile application,” said another student.

The students questioned why the railways alone imposed restrictions while busses and theatres were allowed to function with 100 per cent occupancy. The railways had initially resumed workmen specials for ferrying persons working in essential service sectors, and had later allowed women passengers. And from January 4 onwards, the railways resumed over 98 per cent of  suburban services. A Southern Railway Official said, “Allowing students during peak hours is a policy decision of the Railway Board and this issue is being looked into.”

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