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regular-article-logo Saturday, 13 July 2024

11pm Metro hits awareness hurdle

From Monday, June 24, Metro will bring forward the last train to 10.40pm, carrier cited low footfall on the 11pm trains to bring the time forward

Debraj Mitra Calcutta Published 21.06.24, 06:10 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

The last Metro trains will leave Dum Dum and New Garia — on the north-south corridor or Blue Line — at 11pm for one more day.

But a visit to Metro stations on Wednesday night suggested that the carrier has been doing little to make passengers aware of the last train.

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From Monday, June 24, Metro will bring forward the last train to 10.40pm. The carrier cited low footfall on the 11pm trains to bring the time forward.

The Telegraph on Thursday published multiple passenger accounts that pointed to the difficulty in accessing the stations to avail of the last trains. Most gates were shut and the Metro staff were not forthcoming either, alleged passengers.

On Wednesday, this newspaper travelled to three Metro stations — Chandni Chowk, Esplanade and Park Street — after 10pm. In an hour that we spent near the stations, here’s what we saw:

Chandni Chowk

Around 10.17pm, a man inside the gate at the intersection of GC Avenue and Central Avenue was preparing to roll the shutter down. The train that left Dum Dum at 9.40pm (the last one before 11pm) had just crossed the station.

Five minutes later, the gate on Central Avenue near the Air India office was open. But a display board showing “Service Not Available” greeted passengers. Three young men saw the board and were about to move away when this newspaper told them that another train was due to arrive after 11pm. The three, headed to Shyambazar, entered the station.

At least two other gates were shut. The only other gate that was open was near the LIC office at Hindusthan Building on Central Avenue.

Esplanade

Around 10.40pm, the gate near the Oberoi Grand was shut. A man carrying a bag from a shoe store asked a lemonade seller: “I heard there is a late-night Metro train. Why is the gate shut?”

“The gate on the other flank is open,” said the vendor.

“For the past few weeks, I have told the same thing to scores of people,” the lemonade seller told this newspaper.

Metro has been running the 11pm trains since May 24.

The gate he was pointing to was on the north-bound flank of JL Nehru Road, near the police outpost and Y-Channel. The gate was open but the display board was not working.

At least three other gates were shut.

Park Street

The gate near the Police Club on Mayo Road was shut, as was the one near Jawaharlal Nehru’s statue at the Park Street-Chowringhee crossing. The gate near Asiatic Society was open. But the familiar welcome board — “Service Not Available” — was not to be missed.

Minutes before 11pm, a man walked straight in despite that.

The average combined footfall on the two trains was around 600, the Metro spokesperson had said on Wednesday.

“What is the point in keeping all gates open when only a couple of tokens are sold from some of the stations,” a Metro official said.

The spokesperson, however, said the carrier will address the issue when the last trains leave Dum Dum and New Garia at 10.40pm.

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