Men hanging from suburban trains, with just a toehold on the footboard, is a common sight in the city. Despite a number of deaths due to this practice, commuters continue to ride on footboards — mostly due to lack of space inside the compartment, but at times just for the thrill it gives them.

Around 39 people have lost their lives after falls from trains till June. Close to 4,000 have been fined for footboard travel. A senior RPF official said more than 750 awareness campaigns against footboard travel had been carried out by the force in Chennai division during the year.

“Many students travel on the footboard as they have to reach college on time and all the coaches are crowded. There is a need to have more punctual services. We stand to lose attendance when we reach college late,” said one of the friends of Shivakumar, who died in the accident on Tuesday at St. Thomas Mount.

However, not all have a valid reason for travelling dangerously.

School students who travel by MRTS do so for fun. “It’s a breezy ride and we have fun looking at the city from a height,” said Kumaran, a student of a school in Mylapore.

The RPF official said despite taking several preventive measures such as levying fines and organising awareness campaigns, footboard travel continues. “We are trying our best to curb it,” he said.

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