Assurance and guidance are the two most important things people desire when in a crisis. After receiving several complaints from passengers regarding the quality of announcements inside coaches during emergencies, Metro Railway general manager P C Sharma on Sunday inaugurated a ‘Test Bench’ at the Kavi Subhash carshed, which is capable of testing and measuring the decibel levels of announcements over the public address system inside trains.
“On Sunday during his annual inspection, our GM travelled in a battery-powered car and oversaw the activities along the Mahanayak Uttam Kumar-Kavi Subhash stretch and the latter’s carshed. He inspected passenger amenities at Mahanayak Uttam Kumar, Masterda Surya Sen and Kavi Subhash stations before moving to the carshed where he inaugurated the ‘Test Bench’. The GM also inspected the crew lobby and asked that motormen be counselled to remain alert and start immediate passenger evacuation during emergencies after receiving orders,” said Metro Railway CPRO Indrani Banerjee.
Sharma also inspected firefighting equipment and preparedness to tackle emergencies at stations. He checked the condition of tracks and fire hydrants along the viaduct between Mahanayak Uttam Kumar and Kavi Subhash stations. In one of its worse crises ever, Metro Railway faced a situation on December 27 when the undercarriage of a coach caught fire near Maidan. After being rescued, passengers complained that announcements inside the coaches were not clear due to which panic set in. Even the Commissioner of Railway Safety, who carried out a probe after the accident, recommended that quality of announcements be improved.
“Motormen are being counselled and they are now speaking over the PA systems even during minor problems. Such announcements assure passengers. As it is, remaining confined inside a coach during an emergency can be scary, particularly when others are speaking of possible disasters awaiting them. This is when announcements help passengers by assuring them that help is on the way. If this doesn’t happen, panic can set in. Announcements are also helpful in guiding passengers to emergency exits in a disciplined manner,” a Metro official said.
While announcements may be a problem in the existing fleet of rakes, the new ones will have talk-back facilities that will allow passengers to directly communicate with motormen.
Source: Times of India