In a surprising turn of events, renowned personalities in Mumbai are opting for public transport to navigate the city's notorious traffic, bringing attention to the ongoing commuting challenges faced by millions. Recent instances of celebrities, such as Niranjan Hiranandani choosing public transport over fancy cars to beat the traffic have highlighted the enduring reliability and preference for Mumbai's local trains.
Hiranandani's journey in AC local goes viral
Niranjan Hiranandani's journey up to Ulhasnagar in an air-conditioned local train garnered attention as the 73-year-old real estate tycoon opted for the AC local to escape the city's notorious traffic. The video he shared on social media captured the unique experience of waiting on the platform, boarding with fellow passengers, and interacting with the public.
Earlier in April 2023, Hema Malini's surprise ride on the Mumbai Metro emphasised the struggle against traffic woes in the bustling metropolis.
Public reactions to these celebrity train rides have been mixed, with some praising their choice to experience the daily struggles of the common citizen. Social media comments reflect the sentiment that public transport is becoming a necessity due to poor road conditions, traffic mismanagement, and safety concerns.
Suburban trains remain most reliable mode of transport
Lata Agarde of the suburban passengers association asserts that the use of public transport by celebrities underscores the enduring trust in suburban and metro trains during emergencies. Jitu Vishe of Kalyan Kasara Passengers association and Mansoor Darvesh, a passenger activist, both agree that, despite occasional delays and overcrowding, suburban trains remain the most reliable mode of transport in the city.
A senior official from the Central Railway emphasizes the affordability and punctuality of suburban trains, reinforcing their status as the city's lifeline. However, some experts argue that celebrity train rides might be driven by a desire for popularity and attention.
Transport expert Mohammed Afzal said that celebrities traveling by public transport can serve as a one-time publicity gimmick, urging them to understand the common citizen's commuting challenges.
City traffic woes a major reason behind the new trend
However the broader question arises: are Mumbai's roads so bad that even VIPs and celebrities opt for public transport? While some argue it could be a publicity stunt, others see it as an opportunity for influential figures to experience firsthand the issues faced by the general public.
"The recent trend of celebrities choosing Mumbai's public transport sheds light on the persistent traffic problems in the city. Whether a one-time publicity stunt or a genuine attempt to understand commuter challenges, these instances underscore the significance of reliable and efficient suburban train services as the backbone of Mumbai's transportation system," said another transport expert.