Some go to work by Chennai Express

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For the last 18 months, Yogesh Kumaran, a software professional, has found a way to reach office without getting stuck in city traffic. He takes a train from Majestic to Whitefield from where a company shuttle bus service takes him to his office.

One of many IT industry employees who find taking a train to work convenient, he pointed out that with a pass at Rs. 80 per month for a passenger train and Rs. 410 a month for an express train, it was less expensive. Not only that, the travel time was less and the comfort level was higher. He said, “I can easily go to office even on Saturdays using the pass, unlike with a cab.”

While Mr. Kumaran is happy with that travel arrangement, some transport industry sources say that much more has to be done to get more corporate commuters to travel by train. Dileep Satyan, who heads a company that encourages corporate commuters to travel by public transport, said travelling by trains should be encouraged as it decongests the roads. But though people try trains, they return to cabs and private vehicles, he said.

The reason is that while trains are a viable alternative to cabs and buses, commuters face problems that prevent them from taking trains. Lack of or inadequate parking facilities at stations, seating arrangements in train and last-mile connectivity have been cited as reasons.

While parking is not available at all stations, facilities are inadequate at places where it is available. Vehicles have to be parked without shelter and also cannot be left there overnight. If the commuter decides to take another route back home, he cannot as he has to go back to pick up the vehicle.

Commuters do not always get seats in the train, and after standing through a 40-minute journey, they reach office tired and flustered at the beginning of the day.

The third problem is the issue of what Mr. Sathyan calls “last-mile connectivity”. Covering the last leg of the commute, from the train to the office, remains expensive, unless it is by public transport, which is not always available.

The solution is for the Railways and the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport to get linked. He said, “We should get BMTC to start shuttle services. Only then will the commute be seamless.”

Meanwhile, Kumar Pushkar, Director (Information Technology), BMTC, said: “Corporates can talk to us. Once we know their requirements, we can operate buses.”
(The Hindu)

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