Express News Service
BENGALURU:The paid buggy cart service run at Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna (KSR) railway station is definitely a hit, with an average of 650 passengers using them daily. However, the refusal by the railways to permit heavy luggage on the carts is proving to be a major irritant among passengers.
There are seven paid buggy carts running 24×7 at KSR station. From the cart being started as a free service for pregnant women, elderly and the disabled, it was contracted to a private firm and converted into a paid service from December 27, 2017. All age groups were permitted with `20 charged per head.
The only condition imposed by railways on the licensee ‘Maini’ was no passenger should be permitted to carry baggages weighing above 10 kg. It is this rule that is upsetting many passengers, particularly senior citizens.
A common sight today in front of the buggy station in front of the railway station is that of senior citizens endlessly pleading and haggling with the buggy operators to permit their luggage.‘Maini’ supervisor at KSR, V Chandrasekhar told Express, “We are helpless. It is written in the contract signed between us and the Bengaluru railway Division on November 17, 2017, which rules out heavy luggage. We cannot violate the contract given to us.” The buggies though are sturdy enough to carry heavy luggage and the company was ready to take them, he adds.
Aravind, a buggy driver, says, “We do feel sympathetic towards the elderly. But if we decide to be lenient with them, the porters start fighting with us for eating into their business.”“We try to fix authorised porters for the elderly but the exorbitant charges demanded puts off most passengers,” a buggy operator said.
V Kulkarni, on way to board a train to Bagalkot, was arguing furiously with the buggy drivers, “This is totally ridiculous. I am 66 years and I cannot carry my heavy luggage up to the platform. How will it disturb anyone if my luggage is allowed to be placed near my feet?”
R Sulochana, on way to Mayiladuthurai, refused to listen to the operator and hopped on to the buggy with her four baggages. “They all think I am an old woman and they can cheat me. I am intelligent enough to know such rules do not exist!,” she said.Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Bengaluru railway Division, N R Sridharamurthy said, “The rule not to allow heavy luggage on the buggy was made by the railway Board and not by the Division. We cannot modify it.”
For buggy service call: 9845120000.
Rly stations get 60 wheelchairs
The Bengaluru railway Division received 60 portable wheelchairs and is set to get 65 more shortly. The wheelchairs were handed over to DRM R S S Saxena at the KSR railway Station by NGO HelpAge India and private firm TE Connectivity. While a few wheelchairs will complement the existing ones, the rest will be distributed based on demand among the 130 railway stations which falls under the division. The wheelchairs would be placed at prominent places inside railway stations with a sticker above displaying the official who should be contacted to avail them.