No sooner did the Chennai Metro Rail allow commuters to take their bicycles on to trains, than quite a few Chennaiites began taking full advantage of the provision.
Vedanarayanan Mahadevan, a 28-year-old resident of Kolathur regularly travels by the Chennai Metro. “I travel to Thirumangalam station, park my bike and head to Ekkatuthangal and then take a share auto to my office. Today, instead of that, I cycled to Thirumangalam, took the bicycle on the train all the way and then reached my workplace. It was a very convenient and seamless form of travel,” he says.
Commuters can take small and handy cycles only in Special Class, which means, they pay twice the normal fare. “I have to pay parking charges and for last-mile connectivity too, everyday; so, instead of all that, I will be paying a little more for the ticket, which I don’t mind. I save time to a great extent and cycling makes for a good exercise. I plan to take it regularly henceforth,” he adds.
Uma Reddy, a resident of Porur who travels to Shollinganallur every day says she was delighted when this initiative was introduced. “It becomes too tiring to take the car or bike every day to work. While this may be more expensive, I don’t mind paying as I can drastically save time and it becomes a great way to work out,” she adds.
But there are some commuters who are unhappy that they have to pay for special class and some say there is not much clarity on what kind of bicycles can be carried inside trains. Some have posted on Twitter too, about the need for a clear mention of the rule: if any cycle can carried or only ones that can be folded. A commuter Arun Ramachandran posted, “The notice is vague what is small ,smart, handy bikes?
The London Underground clearly says only folding bikes allowed. The most common bikes on road are nearly 6-7 feet long and might not even fit into the turnstiles. CMRL should have a very clear bike cycle policy.”