What type of public transport person are you? Train person or a bus person?
I am always comfortable with the train. If you have read the previous posts I have already mentioned it before. Travelling in the suburban train, especially the one that runs from Tambaram to Beach station, always healed me whenever I feel down. I have laughed, cried and learnt so much through those rides ever since I was a kid.
I have also felt that suburban train routes don’t really link to most part of the city, where I can explore only through a bus(Bus travel is something I am trying hard to get used to).
So, for me, a part of the city was always left unexplored and felt too distant. And I always felt like travelling to my hometown(Tuticorin) by train is much closer than Vadapalani, as I felt travelling here by bus is a pain. Slowly things started to change for me and also for many, as Chennai Metro Rail Limited became the most important part of Chennai’s travel route. By linking almost all of the places which weren’t connected or accessed through by suburban train. But, it’s not as cheap as suburban trains or buses.
CMRL came 5 years back and became so popular that people all around Chennai came to enjoy it as an amusement rather than frequent transportation as its quite pricey. It was so trendy back then. I saw it all over Instagram status and Facebook accounts. It took a year for me to travel in it. As I was sick back then, I was too tired to enjoy my first ride. It’s just too hazy in my memory, except that I remember my first ride was during Jallikattu protest.
From the end of 2018, the Chennai Metro train became my most frequent ride, when I started to go for my Spanish class. One day I got so disappointed with my Spanish teacher and decided to bunk my class. That’s when everything started. I just travelled without a destination. Without my knowledge, I got off on Shenoy Nagar station. I decided to roam around for a while at first. Instead, I asked the staff near the ticket booking point if there is any place to hangout. She said “SkyWalk” shopping mall was nearby. So immediately I put my google map, took a 10 min walk. After spending an hour at the mall and finally I went back home at evening.
After this, whenever I feel like, I just go to Airport Metro station, I ride on it until I get exhausted or get down on random stops and wander. I have explored most of the city after the metro train became accessible. I put my hoodies on, tie my lace, grab my travel backpack and bottle and some money and metro card, hop on the train. So far, I have been to Forum Vijaya Mall at Vadapalani, where I usually spend hours eating and roaming alone. I have also gone to VR mall first time from Thirumangalam metro and to Washermanpet, Egmore, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and to random stops and streets. I usually walk from the Metro station to any place where I want to go even though it’s far. If you search for or travel to any places by walk, I believe there are 75% chances that you remember the route on the first go.
CMRL(Chennai Metro Rail Limited) stations are the most well-managed places compared to many of the local transportation around our city. This is purely from my experience with both technology and service. Whether its security or staffs, they are always reliable and polite. There will be some naggers around, but I have met a lot of sweet ones equally. I have so many memories over there in the past few years. I have witnessed beautiful moments and interacted with interesting people. That’s the perk of travelling alone, you get a chance to do more than just seeing- Observe.
I am a clumsy person. During my school days, I often forget my lunch bag in school or in the railway station and many times in train. I always have only one backpack whenever I ride the metro. One day while I was returning from a travel fair, I had another big shopper bag in which I had some of the brochures which I got from the travel fair. I have to get down a few stops before so that I help my friends to get them on their train. Habitually, I took only my backpack and forgot the other one. Only after a few minutes, I realised. I decided to forget about it and made my friends get on their train.
As I was coming down, I thought of trying once. So, I went to one of the staff and informed about my situation. I was taken to control room, which is usually located in the middle of the metro station ground floor. I spoke with another staff who was in-charge over there, gave all the details about the lost bag. And immediately they took action. They contacted the in-charge in the Airport station for the bag. As the train went earlier, it was already left from the Airport station. She immediately asked another in-charge to go and get the bag from the train(the one where I left my bag) which was about to arrive in a few minutes. They politely asked me to wait for few more minutes. And voila, I got my bag. I was happy, I felt so proud of learning something new. I had some procedures like signing documents and showing identification proofs etc… and I was also given some lecture😂. So, if you ever come across such kind of situations, never hesitate to reach out to them. (Note: My bag has only papers that’s why it survived😅).. There might be many unfortunate incidents prone to happen too. But, I find they are trying their best to manage compared to other transportation facilities. You have lots of food stalls in most of the metro station where you can grab something and relax for a while.
It wasn’t easy as it sounds. Travelling around, alone, being a girl, I get uncomfortable and scared too. I have met many creeps, so does I have met kind ones, rarely.
When you travel alone:
- Make sure you have enough money in your pocket.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged and have balance.
- Make sure you informed someone that you are travelling. Especially when you are new to travelling alone in a new place.
- Make sure you are always alert of your surrounding.
- Make sure you don’t care about people who look at you pathetically.
If you think I started to travel alone because I prefer it. There is a partial truth in it. But in reality, most of my friends’ parents don’t allow them to go travel around as I do. And also, I am too tired listening to my family’s excuse whenever I want them to tag along with me. That’s why I often travel alone. Being independent is not as easy as it sounds to be. Solivagants rise out of pressure which eventually turns out to be comforting.
CMRL has somehow have a part by making things easier for me, especially with local travel.
Do you like to ride the metro trains too? Tell me about any incident you remember so well or anything you always reminded about Metro rides.
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