A new parking fee structure at the Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station (Majestic) in Bengaluru marking a steep increase in fees has prompted unhappy reactions from commuters.
The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) which looks over the parking facility in the station has hiked the parking fees starting from January 25. Now, passengers have to pay Rs 232 to park their two-wheelers for a whole day, compared to the earlier fee of Rs 70 for parking for 24 hours. Parking for the first two hours is Rs 12 and every additional hour after that will cost Rs 10 per hour. Passengers who misplace their parking receipt will now have to shell out Rs 500.
While the monthly pass for parking two-wheelers is Rs 1,000, the same for cars is Rs 3,000. The fee for car parking for the first two hours is Rs 25 and Rs 20 for every next hour for single users.
The steep increase in fees has evoked sharp reactions from the public and has forced the authority to take note. IRSDC has assured that the fees will be reviewed in a week’s time.
In a statement, it said, “IRSDC is working to rationalise the rates for parking at KSR Bengaluru Railway Station so as to promote short term parking and discourage long term parking through higher parking fee. This has been done with a clear intention of letting passengers find a parking place easily at the station as more than 90% of the users of parking facility has also been developing 'Drop & Go lanes with no charges for initial 5 to 15 minutes depending upon locations so that access to the station is made congestion-free are requiring parking only for short term use IRSDC.”
It added, “The existing issues concerning public at KSR Bengaluru Railway Station, including that of parking rates, will be resolved within this week.”
IRSDC is a joint venture company of Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), a statutory authority under the Ministry of Railways and Ircon International Limited (IRCON) (A Govt. of India Undertaking, under Ministry of Railways).
Reacting to this, Sanjeev Dhyamanavar, a transport policy expert, said that due to a lack of stringent uniform policies for parking and unabated parking on the roads, this move by the Railways will not help much.
“Since the facilities are the same, there is no way people will be convinced to pay more for the same facility. So people will gradually move to private facilities or even the nearby KSRTC/ BMTC bus stations if that offers more competitive pricing,” he said.
He added, “If the railways provide additional facilities like CCTV surveillance or proper sheds, then people might see some merit in paying the increased fee. Moreover, in general, long-distance trains are usually late, so it does not make sense to penalise a railway user further.”
Sandeep Anirudhan, an activist also criticised the new fees. He said, “There seems to be a racket that goes on in Railways. Every now and then, they give out contracts to private parties to manage the parking, and the tickets are priced so high that it becomes unaffordable for people who use the facility. Very often, the parking tickets cost much more than the train fare. Who will use it then? If the Railways wishes to be popular, they should allow parking at nominal charges.”
He added, “The Railways is not paying rent for the land, so they should not be interested in making profits out of this. And the private operator-officials nexus needs to be probed.”