Mumbai: A fortnight after its inception, there are not enough takers for the first AC local on the trans-Harbour section, with only around 1,400 passengers, which means only 28%, using the service, though the train can carry 5,000 commuters at a time. Undeterred by the lukewarm reception, the Central Railway (CR) is now planning another AC local, which will run every day. However, the CR is yet to begin a survey of multi-nationals located on the trans-Harbour section, so it can request their employees to patronise the AC local and improve the ridership.
Senior railway official said they hold meetings over how to conduct survey on Thane-Vashi and Thane-Panvel sections to identify how many MNC companies are located. They hope the idea of urging employees will increase the ridership on AC local train. “We are holding internal discussions on how to take this forward. We will first identify the companies and commercial outlets on the Thane-Vashi route and then urge them to ask their employees to choose AC locals over taxis and auto rickshaws,” said an official.
Shivaji Sutar, chief public relation officer (CPRO), CR said “The plan of action will be ready soon and once it has been done they will start approaching the companies and commercial outlets.”
Over the years, the areas of Airoli, Rabale and Turbhe have evolved as both commercial and residential spaces. According to officials, one of the reasons behind starting the AC local on the route is an unprecedented rise in the number of first-class commuters. “Most commuters work in MNCs and commercial centres here and like to travel in relative comfort and first-class compartments are getting crowded,” said a CR official.
He added the second rake is undergoing tests for its electrical components by the Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL) and Integral Coach Factory (ICF). The rake will be ready within a month while a third rake is expected to arrive in a week. “The second rake is likely to be used to run the same set of eight services, except that it will be operated during weekends,” said a CR official.