Travel plans of railway passengers go off track

, Travel plans of railway passengers go off track, TravelWireNews | World News

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Express News Service

KOCHI: Though the special train services, including Venad Express and Janasatabdi, have resumed services after the Railways bowed down before the collective demand of train passengers, none seems to benefit from it. With the services running at odd hours and skipping many stops, passengers are finding themselves in a tough spot. 

“The Railways is doing nothing despite a lot of people depend on it during this taxing period,” said Ajas N S, a passenger who travels between Ernakulam to Kottayam daily. “At present, only one train caters to the needs of passengers in the district. We are in Unlock 4.0 phase. A lot of restrictions on the transport sector have been lifted. But, that doesn’t count when it comes to the Railways,” he said.

It is the irregular service of Venad Express that derailed the plans of many passengers. According to Neema K S, a techie, transportation has suddenly become a nightmare. “During pre-Covid days, taking trains was very convenient for us. We could get down at Tripunithura and take a bus or an autorickshaw to our office. But, with Venad Express skipping Tripunithura station, we are now forced to get down at Ernakulam and find a connecting bus to our offices. It is a time-consuming process and not practical for many like me who work with various IT firms at Tripunithura,” said Neema. The timings of Venad Express is also not conducive.

According to Neena Jacob, who works with an insurance company, the timing of Venad Express has been changed. “What sense does operating a train at 1pm from Ernakulam make? How is it benefiting the office goer,” she asks. As per the Covid standard operating protocol (SOP), a passenger who wants to board a train needs to arrive 90 minutes before its scheduled arrival. 

According to another commuter Ajas, a large number of people have taken up accommodation at hostels and lodges because of the travel woes. “Many, especially women, have lost their jobs due to difficulties in commuting to workplace. Many companies looking to cut staff are doing away with those who travel from far,” he said. Though the Railways had introduced Janshatabdi trains, tickets are available only via bookings, which not many have access to. These services again have a few stops. “If anybody from Ernakulam wants to travel to Kottayam, they have no options since all Janshatabdi trains return to capital  via Alappuzha,” said Ajas.

Govt decides the stops, says railways 
Railway authorities passed the buck to the government. “We have plans to introduce three more special trains. The proposal is just in the draft phase and the services might be operated on different routes. As for the scrapping of stops for Venad and other special trains, the decision was made by the state government. When special trains were started, the Railways had charted all the regular stops for the services. But as per the Covid SOP, the state government is the final authority in deciding stops,” said the railway officials.

Time table

6302 Venad Express (Special)
Thiruvananthapuram    05:15 am
Ernakulam Junction    9:45am
6301 Venad Express (Special)
Ernakulam Junction    01:15 pm
Thiruvananthapuram    05:30 pm
02076 Janshatabdi special
Thiruvananthapuram    05:55 am
Ernakulam Junction    09:25 am
Kozhikode     01:15 am

02075 Janshatabdi special
Kozhikode    01:45 pm
Ernakulam Junction    05:20 pm
Thiruvananthapuram    21:35 pm
 02081 Janshatabdi special   (via Kottayam)
Kannur    04:50 am
Ernakulam North    09:40 am
Thiruvananthapuram    02:25 pm
02082 Janshatabdi special   (via Kottayam)
Thiruvananthapuram    02:45 pm
Ernakulam North    06:30 pm
Kannur    12:20 am

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