First time since lockdown, Mumbai's public transport footfall touches average of 1 crore

First time since lockdown, Mumbai's public transport footfall touches average of 1 crore

The suburban local trains are carrying 70-72 lakh every day which is just 6-8 lakh short of pre-Covid times when 78-80 lakh people were travelling.

Shashank RaoUpdated: Monday, April 18, 2022, 07:58 PM IST
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First time since lockdown, Mumbai's public transport footfall touches average of 1 crore | (PTI File Photo)

For the first time since the Covid lockdown, Mumbai's public transport is carrying the magic number of 1 crore on a daily average. The suburban local trains are carrying 70-72 lakh every day which is just 6-8 lakh short of pre-Covid times when 78-80 lakh people were travelling. Likewise, the BEST is ferrying 30 lakh people on an average. In fact, they expect it to reach 35 lakh in another 4 months or so for which the BEST is going to start the 'tap-in, tap-out system of ticketing from this week.

Local trains

The crowds inside local trains are rising day by day. The Central and Western Railways together are currently ferrying 70-72 lakh commuters on a daily basis. To further bifurcate it, the Central Railway, on a daily average is ferrying 40-42 lakh while the Western Railway is carrying 28-30 lakh on a daily average. The pre-Covid daily average of commuters using the suburban local trains used to hover around 80 lakh or so.

“We are seeing a consistent increase in people using the suburban network. Our daily average is 42 lakh or so though at times it also surpasses 45 lakh,” said a senior CR official on condition of anonymity. The CR authorities are running 1,810 services every day.

The crowds especially those coming from Mumbai's Metropolitan Region (MMR) have gone up substantially. “The railways need to improve services, especially during peak hours. They have to run more AC locals as well if they want better footfall. The number of daily commuters is increasing,” said Aniket Gamandi, member, of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee --- a committee set up by the Railway ministry.

As per data of CR, Dombivli has 80,637 AC commuters, the most on CR, followed by Thane at 70,550 and Kalyan with 60,633 users. Of the AC services on CR’s lines, the Mainline has the highest passenger average per service at 415 followed by the CSMT-Goregaon route at 235 while the CSMT-Panvel service has an average of 90 passengers per service.

The CR authorities are running 60 AC local services on a daily basis while the WR is running 28 AC services. Senior CR officials claimed that looking at the poor response on the Harbour line, they are contemplating shifting the AC local on the Mainline which has more footfall. The WR is seeing a rush inside their AC locals, especially during peak hours, it was 15355 passengers per day inside AC locals in March, which is a good sign.

The WR is also seeing a rise in daily users at 28-30 lakh or so. Over the last 2 years during the Covid-19 lockdown, the number of commuters had dropped drastically on both CR and WR. “We are seeing consistent growth in daily commuters which is close to pre-Covid levels,” said a WR official. The WR authorities are currently operating 1375 services on a daily basis.

BEST buses

The BEST buses, which were the lifeline during the Covid induced lockdown, too are seeing a consistent increase in daily passengers. Every day, there are 30 lakh passengers travelling in BEST buses on an average. This used to be less than 20-25 lakh until late last year and since the easing of lockdown, their numbers have gone up.

Now, the BEST is looking to improve the passenger experience for which they are starting card tapping inside buses for which card readers have been installed and is being tested. “We are hoping to make it operational by this week,” said Lokesh Chandra, General Manager, BEST Undertaking.

As per the plan, BEST is devising plans to install card readers inside all the buses running on ‘Ring Routes’ across Mumbai. There are close to 600 air-conditioned buses – consisting of Mini and Tempo Travellers – that operate on ring routes in the island city and suburbs. These buses ply on 174-odd routes ferrying passengers from railway stations to residential areas across different locations in Mumbai. The whole idea is to ensure that people travelling in these ring routes need not interact or wait for conductors. These buses plying on ring routes either charge a fixed fare of Rs 6 for AC bus and Rs 5 for the non-AC bus.

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