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Minister’s Metro ride

Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi took the Metro from Rabindra Sadan to Tollygunge and back at the peak hour on Monday morning to understand the problems faced by commuters.

The Metro authorities claimed they did not know about the visit but commuters doubt it since the minister, who was not accompanied by any railway official, did not come across a queue while buying tokens at both stations.

Regulars at the station said they had to queue up for at least 10 minutes to buy tokens during the peak hour.

“The trains were overcrowded. I think their frequency needs to increase. But fortunately I did not find a queue at the ticket counters,” said Trivedi.

“I feel there should be more seats for senior citizens and women. A separate compartment for women will be good,” the minister told Metro.

He had come to Rabindra Sadan station in his personal car to avoid the attention of railway officials. He bought a token and took the 9.25am train to Tollygunge and returned on the 9.50am train.

It is not clear whether the minister was alone. He spoke to several commuters during the journeys. “They told me that they were willing to pay more provided better amenities were made available. They want air-conditioned rakes and asked me not to run condemned trains,” said Trivedi.

Regular Metro commuters suffer several other problems, such as lack of drinking water facilities at stations south of Tollygunge (Mahanayak Uttam Kumar).

Trivedi said more “surprise visits” were on the anvil. “I have plans to travel on long-distance trains like a common passenger the way I did today. I won’t inform railway officials beforehand,” he said.

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