‘Bhai’ is not just a ‘gangster’ term, it is also used for the head of a group that bullies commuters boarding peak hour local trains in Mumbai. Groupism, in fact, is one of the main reasons behind the foot-boarding or train door-clocking problem that plagues the city’s lifeline. The Free Press Journal is driving a campaign against door blocking as it affects thousands of lives every day.
Our readers can go to freepressjournal.in to read the previous reports. In the third part of the series, we will bring to light ‘Bhaigiri’ at Nallasopara and Vasai during morning rush hours and at Andheri and Borivali during the evening rush hours on the Western line. On the Central line, the problem is at its worst at Dombivali and Thane stations during morning rush hours and at Dadar, Kurla and Ghatkopar during evening rush hours.
'Several bhais hanging at the door'
Deependra Joshi, a 42-year-old banker who regularly commutes between Dadar and Dombivali, said that greetings are almost an undeclared culture to get into local trains. “There are several bhais hanging at the door as the train pulls in and out of the station. If you don’t salute them, you can be sure to miss the train,” he said.
Door blocking rampant early morning
The major problem particularly occurs with 8.20am, 8.29am, 8.36am, 8.46am and 8.59am CSMT-bound fast locals. “Almost all doors are occupied by a group of regular commuters from Kalyan and they unofficially mark their territories, said another daily commuter Sukesh Shah, 45, who works with a BKC-based government organisation and boards from Dombivali every day. “You can’t fight them; the only way to get into the train is to salute them,” he said.
'Chances of missing trains in rush hours very high'
Awdesh Sharma, 38, from Vasai, who works with a Fort accountancy firm, said, “If you are not a regular commuter, the chance of missing the train during morning rush hours is very high. They don’t care about non-regular passengers. If you need to board a fast train during morning rush hours from Vasai or Nallasopara, you need to have a good rapport with foot-boarders. Otherwise, be ready for a fight.”
Door blocking rampant in ladies coaches too
Don’t be fooled, as women’s compartments face a similar problem. “Door blocking and groupism is not something new in ladies coaches. Non-regulars, especially at Dombivali, are not allowed,” said Sucheta Mohanti, an IT professional. Nandini Lamba from Khar said, “If someone boards a Virar train and wants to alight at Andheri, it’s not an easy task.”
A senior railway official from the Central Railway said that the Railway Protection Force regularly takes action against repeat offenders, but clearly the numbers are too overwhelming.
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