Coimbatore: After years of taking on parking issues, hoardings and illegal buildings in Chennai, social activist ‘traffic’ Ramasamy has now decided to turn his attention on parking charges at the Coimbatore Junction. Echoing thoughts of thousands of commuters who flock to the junction daily, Ramasamy said parking charges for both four and two-wheelers in the station were extremely high. While regular commuters agree that parking charges at the railway station are high, the railway authorities say the charges have been fixed taking into account long term inflation.
Ramasamy, who reached the city on Monday, immediately went around the front entrance parking lot, back entrance parking lot and the multi-level two-wheeler parking behind the station. He was seen demanding to meet the contractor and to see the bill books too. “I decided to visit the station after a YouTube video surfaced where a person based in United States said he was charged a high price for parking,” said Ramasamy.
Regarding the newly launched two-wheeler car park, which on its notice board say that it costs a minimum of Rs 10 and goes upto Rs 25 for 24 hours for a two-wheeler, it standardly charges only Rs 20 to every customer. “I don’t think they have given Rs 10 coupons to anyone. The contractor refused to show his bill book when I tried getting proof,” said Ramasamy.
Though the YouTube video is dated, many commuters who watched the activist on local news channels welcomed him for picking up the parking issue. “Rs 50 to park a car even for 15 minutes in a government compound, which sees so many middle class and lower middle class people, is extremely high. Its higher than what malls and multiplexes in the city charge even on a weekend or public holiday,” said T Rammohan, a businessman and regular train commuter.
The Salem railway division spokesperson said they had not received any complaints of the contractor overcharging passengers or users so far. “We have erected the rate chart boards on every storey along with a complaint number. We have not received any complaints and thus are sure that there is no issue,”.
“Our parking charges unlike private concerns can not be revised yearly. We sometimes issue three or five year contracts, where we can’t change the rates in between. So it is fixed keeping in mind long term inflation,” said a former commercial manager.