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Huge relief as railways allows peak-hour travel for those fully vaccinated against COVID in Chennai

Ever since the State government relaxed lockdown norms on June 24, the railways has been gradually increasing the services and allowing general public to travel in workmen specials.

Published: 04th September 2021 07:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2021 07:44 AM   |  A+A-

An artist paints 'No mask No Entry' graffiti at Chennai Central Railway station.(Photo | Martin Louis, EPS)

An artist paints 'No mask No Entry' graffiti at Chennai Central Railway station. (File Photo | Martin Louis, EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The railways' decision to allow fully vaccinated male passengers to travel during peak hours in workmen special services has provided much-needed relief to regular commuters of Chennai suburban trains.

Ever since the State government relaxed lockdown norms on June 24, the railways has been gradually increasing the services and allowing general public to travel in workmen specials. Previously, women were permitted to travel round the clock, while men could travel only during non-peak hours.

The travel restrictions caused equal hardship to both men and women. Women commuters who travel with male relatives and friends spent hours waiting at stations.   

Meanwhile, the railways announced that from Friday, men who are not employed in essential services too would be allowed to travel in workmen special trains during peak hours (7 am to 9.30 am and 4.30 pm to 7 pm) upon submitting a vaccination certificate.

The news was welcomed by many passengers, who said the travel relaxation would help them save money. However, a few passengers termed the move illogical, as a large section of population is yet to get fully vaccinated owing to shortage of vaccines, and not because of hesitation.   

On a visit to the Chennai Central Suburban Terminus, Perambur, Villivakkam and Korattur stations, Express found that only a handful of passengers were purchasing tickets showing vaccination certificates. Many elderly passengers and daily wage workers, who do not have smartphones, faced difficulties in showing vaccination certificates.

Anandhan (55) of Kolathur said he received jabs in April and May and the corporation did not issue any certificate.

"Neither do I have a smartphone. After I expressed my inability to show my vaccination certificate, the railway staff at the counter asked me to show the text alert in my mobile. After verifying the name in the text alert and identity proof, the staff issued ticket," Anandhan said.

S Sathish, a private company staff from Tiruttani said none of his family members except his elderly father took vaccines owing to shortage in Tiruttani. "I visited PHCs during weekends, but was told vaccines had not arrived. As I cannot board trains during peak hours, my female friend also waits at the station for two hours," he said.

An official said all pre-lockdown suburban services have resumed. "More than seven lakh passengers travel a day. The decision is aimed at preventing crowding."



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