Parking at Chennai Central railway station may get costlier

Car and bike parking rates at Dr MGR Central (Chennai Central) railway station may be increased, sources in Southern Railway said. Railway officials initiated a discussion in this regard after Chennai Metro Rail Limited opened its parking facility at the station recently.

CMRL charges Rs 10/hour for bikes and Rs 25/hour for four-wheelers, at least twice what Southern Railway charges for parking at the station. The normal car parking rate at Central is Rs 25 for the first two hours, Rs 35 for the next two and Rs 70 for the subsequent two. Bike parking charges are Rs 5 for the first four hours and Rs 10 for up to eight hours.

A slot at the premium car park facility available opposite the Moore Market Complex (MMC) suburban station costs Rs 50 per hour. Senior officials in Chennai division took up the issue of increasing the rate after CMRL opened its facility last week. One of the proposals is to increase rates for those who park vehicles for a long time, say a week or more. However, nothing has been finalised, sources said.

Meanwhile, opinions are divided over the issue. Some officials feel that CMRL offers a covered parking space which would keep bikes and cars safe during rain or during summer. The parking spots also have proper pavements. Compared to this, the railway parking lot for bikes and cars is either open or covered with a flimsy tin roof. The security at these lots is also suspect while the lanes inside are not paved. “Those who can afford to pay a higher fee will surely prefer the metro parking,” said a senior official. This will eat into the railway’s revenue, the official said.

However, another section of officials feels that parking rates on railway properties need to be increased as otherwise metro commuters would park on railway property due to cheaper rates.