According to a report published in The Times Of India, in these pre-Covid days, the number of footfalls is increasing each day in the Chennai metro trains. Reports have it that the number of metro train commuters on each train exceeds the levels. The commuters are now making an appeal to the CMRL about bringing back the first-class coaches. A few commuters have shared with the news desk of TOI that as there is a huge number of attendance on each coach of the metro trains every day, they are fearing the Covid infection to spread once again. So they have requested the authorities about bringing back the first-class coaches so that people can travel comfortably.
Commuters, especially the ones who go to the offices each day are in large numbers during the peak hours which makes it very difficult for the elderly to travel then. The metro trains tend to get so packed during those hours that it hardly leaves any room for either standing comfortably or maintaining a physical distance. Especially during these pre-Covid days, it is becoming a thing of big concern for many.
The Chennai metro introduced a first-class coach having cushion seats. The price of its ticket is double the amount of the regular fares of tickets. But it has been over a year now the first-class coach is being used exclusively by women only. The number of footfalls on the metro rail has become more now. Each day about two to two and a half lack people travel by metro. During 2019, the average number of travelers each day was between a lakh to a lakh and a half.
R Nirmala who happens to travel to LIC each day due to work boards the metro from Thirumangalam. She said that each day during the peak hours the metro is extremely crowded. Many do not even wear a mask appropriately. Especially during a time when the threat of a new strain is looming around the chances for transmission are higher. She also said that during peak hours the trains traveling from Wimco Nagar are already overcrowded by the time it reaches Central metro. During her travel from Central metro to LIC each day, she hardly gets some space to put her feet down due to the trains being overly packed. Although the number of Covid cases has declined but, there is always a chance of getting infected in a crowded place.
She says that the metro railway authorities must bring back the first-class coach so that people who are ready to pay double the price of the ticket can avail of it. She wishes to commute safely and comfortably. S Hemchandran who also happens to be a daily commuter said that he tries reaching the metro station early so that he can avoid the crowd. An official from the CRML has said that the first class has been turned into a coach for women only because of safety concerns about the women commuters.