The commuters from areas like Kalyan-Dombivli, Kasara and Asangaon demand to start more services of local trains to reach their work place in Mumbai, due to daily 5-6 hours traveling. As the commuters traveling from these areas are dependent on roadways at present, struggling to reach their workplace on time due to bad roads and traffic snarls.
"At present limited number of locals services are available for the people associated with essential services in government agencies. However, many still choose to go by road, due to lack of frequency of trains. Hence, we are demanding to increase the frequency in locals services and give halt to these locals at all stations beyond Kalyan," said Shyam Ubale, general secretary, railway passengers association from Kalyan-Karjat-Kasara.
"Besides, the railway should show some pity on the commuters who by mistakenly boards the special train functional for exclusively railway employees. Last month around 12 such passengers (non railway employees) were charged with the fine of Rs.400 for boarding the railway employees special train," added Ubale.
Since the unlock phase has been announced with the functioning of local train services, only employees associated with essential services in government agencies, are allowed to travel in locals. Hence, this accommodates only 2 percent of the total commuters Mumbai suburbs traveling in local trains; while the rest of the commuters are dependent on roadways to reach their work place in Mumbai amid pandemic.
"Though the local services are functional for government employees. However, the locals running between CSMT (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus) to Kalyan/Kasara does not halts at every station beyond Kalyan. This adds more inconvenience to reach the particular railway station and risks to miss the scheduled local. Therefore, many choose to travel by bus or by private vehicles, suffering through traffic woes daily," said a BMC worker for Asangaon, on anonymity.
According to Ubale, around 7-8 lakh population from Kalyan to Karjat/Kasara belt are dependent on the local train services to reach their workplace. While, the commuters from Kalyan, Dombivli, Asangaon and Kasara who are working in the private agencies like banks, hospitals etc; are dependent on the road transport at present, who have to spend 5-6 hours or even more in traveling to reach their work place in Mumbai.
S Ramchandran, 38, a regular commuter from Dombivli, said, "My office is located at Khar, due to lack of local services, I am daily spending on an average 8 hours in travel by road. Many commuters working in private organisations are going with cab pool or coming through own vehicle and facing traffic hardships. Hence, with unlock 4.0 the traffic situation has turned more worse, while the potholes adds more inconvenience."
According to the information from Central Railway (CR), Mumbai. Amid pandemic, total 350 local services are functional on CR, (including main and harbour line) for essential services workers.
"The number of services has been run following the government's guidelines. However, so far we have not received directions from concerned authority to increase the frequency in present running services. While, the local trains has been directed to halt at major stations, which can be easy for the railway staff as far as crowd management is concerned," said Shivaji Sutar, Central Railway, Mumbai.