TIRUCHY: The Railways has taken several steps to help those affected by the lockdown. But the transporter is yet to look into the issue of vehicles left behind in the pay-and-park bays.
Those hoping to take their vehicles out on on March 24, the Monday after janata curfew was observed, were caught unawares by the lock down announcement. This resulted in the vehicles remaining where they were left. Contractors managing the parking facilities are now worried if they would be allowed to collect fees from customers.
“Normally, we charg `10 for 12-hour parking of two-wheelers at railway junctions. In other stations, it is `5 for 12-hour parking of two-wheelers. But now, several vehicles, mostly two-wheelers, have been parked here for almost a week. Most customers would not be ready to pay that much in the way of parking fees.
They would point at the lockdown as the reason for not coming to the station to take their vehicles,” a railway parking contractor said. Sources said there are about 150 two-wheelers in the pay-and-park facility at Tiruchy railway station.
Though the Railway Protection Force would ensure safety of these vehicles, the parking fee issue may remain unresolved. For instance, a railway contractor in Tiruchy railway division is spending roughly Rs 1,000 per day for his staff at the parking facility. A contractor would roughly spend about Rs 21,000 in one station during this lockdown period. Most of these contractors paying staff salaries are expecting to face customer ire after the lockdown.
“We do not know how much customers would be willing pay for keeping these vehicles. Some are sure to enter into arguments with us. This lockdown has led to heavy losses for us,” said a worried railway parking contractor.
The contractors hope the Railways would help them out. A senior Southern Railway official said he would take up this issue with higher authorities.