Kochi: Daily commuters and unreserved passengers are facing a harrowing time in Kerala as the Railway is continuing with its travel restrictions introduced during the time when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging. Even though the pandemic-related curbs have been eased in most of the other sectors, the Railway has allowed unreserved travel only in a few coaches on day trains running within the state. However, these unreserved coaches are always packed to more than their capacity, while the reserved bogies have numerous vacant seats.
Few unreserved coaches
The following trains are conducting services with six unreserved coaches each at present: Mangaluru – Nagercoil Parasuram Express; Mangaluru – Nagercoil Eranad Express and Mangaluru – Coimbatore Intercity Express. Meanwhile, the Tirunelveli – Palakkad Palaruvi Express and Madurai – Punalur Express have four unreserved bogies each. But, regular passengers point out that these numbers are hardly sufficient to meet the demand.
Trains yet to resume services
Commuters also said that the services of two popular trains which had ceased following the pandemic were yet to resume. The trains are Thiruvananthapuram – Mumbai Express and Kanyakumari – Pune Jayanti. As a result, there are no daily trains from Kottayam to Ernakulam between Sabari Express at 10 am and Kerala Express at 3.05 pm. A number of passenger trains that used to run before the pandemic have also not been reintroduced by the Railway authorities.
In a statement, Thrissur Railway Passengers’ Association secretary P Krishnakumar and All-Kerala Railway Users’ Forum president Paul Manvattom demanded urgent measures to solve these issues.