COIMBATORE: The Salem division of Southern Railway resumed Erode-Coimbatore MEMU service on April 1 as a special train after a two-year break and is collecting express ticket fares. Passengers complain that though the express fare is collected, the journey time for the 100 km distance remains 2.45 hours.
Passengers welfare associations point out that buses cover the distance in two hours and appealed to railways to reduce the running time by at least 30 minutes. Erode Season Ticket Train Passengers welfare association secretary A Mahalingam said, "The train starts at Erode at 7.15 am and reaches Coimbatore at 9.45 am. Students and office goers benefit the most. The train arrives in Coimbatore north railway station at 9.15 but reaches Coimbatore junction around 9.45 am. The 30-minute delay makes it difficult to reach the destination on time. In the return journey, it leaves Coimbatore junction at 6.45 pm and reaches Erode at 9.20 pm after a halt at Thottipalayam."
He added, "Till March 2020, the fare from Erode to Tirupur was Rs15 but now has increased to Rs 35. The fare from Erode to Coimbatore has been revised from Rs 30 to Rs 70 because it is a special express service."
DRUCC member K Jayaraj said "Though passengers are paying the express fare, they are not getting quality service. Mail and express trains cover the 100km distance between Erode and Coimbatore within 1.5 hours. The railways should have increased speed when they revised the fare."
Further, he said the train used to halt at Koolipalayam and Singanallur, which benefitted hundreds of passengers, but the stoppages have been removed. The stoppages must be restored, he demanded.
Erode MP A Ganeshamurthy told TNIE that he would raise the issue in Parliament. A Gautam Srinivas Divisional Railway Manager of Salem Railway Division told TNIE that they will examine the demand for revising the ticket fare and check possibilities for increasing speed and reducing the journey time.