As Mumbai and the neighbouring cities in the MMR region reopen gradually in the fourth phase of “Unlock” from September, the lack of local train services is making it difficult for many from the twin-cities of Mira Bhayandar and beyond to reach their workplace. Keep in mind that this was a system that had, before the lockdown ferried lakhs of commuters daily.
The Free Press Journal spoke to some people who had no other option but to venture out of their home to earn a living.
Kiran Warishe (30), lives in Nilemore Village in Nallasopara with his family of three. Kiran works in the billing and recovery section of a broadband internet service provider in Bhayandar. Earlier the commute from Nallasopara to Bhayandar took less than 30 minutes by train. Now however, it takes more than three hours for a single-way journey as Kiran changes two buses and walks for at least 15 minutes before he can reach his workplace.
“Sans local trains, I board a ST bus from Nallasopara which does not stop in-between and directly drops me at Borivali from where I catch another BEST bus to Bhayandar. Apart from the harrowing ordeal, I have to spend nearly Rs. 200 per day from my meager salary” says Kiran.
A resident of Jesal Park area of Bhayandar, 36-year-old Dhiraj Rajani is an executive attached with a private financial company having its office in Nariman Point. “We have limited work-from-options and have to physically remain present at office at least thrice a week. Earlier, I boarded trains originating from Bhayandar and reached office within 90 minutes. But now I have been left with no other option but to travel in my own car or opt for private cabs," says Rajani.
Unlike economically priced monthly passes of yore, the current travel expense also eats into a substantial chunk of Rajani’s salary.
Pragaram Choudhary (27) runs a small toy and stationery shop in the Hub Town area of Mira Road. Unable to afford the rent of a flat, he stays in the shop itself.
"Earlier I travelled by train to Marine Lines for fresh purchases every alternate day by spending Rs. 30 for a return ticket. But now I have to travel by a private bus which charges Rs. 200 for a single side journey that takes nearly 3 hours,” says Choudhary.