Travelling in local trains from Mumbai’s metropolitan region is becoming a pain once again now that Covid-19 induced restrictions are being eased. The total number of passengers travelling on both Central and Western Railways is hovering close to 65 lakh. However, the trouble of travel for people travelling beyond Thane/Kalyan and Virar remains a hassle.
Various passenger associations are complaining about it to the railways asking them to increase train services if possible and avoid operating long-distance trains during morning and evening peak hours.
Earlier this month, Central and Western Railways' General Manager Anil Kumar Lahoti had inspected Mumbai’s suburban section and even met commuters and passenger associations.
“We had presented our demands to the railways during the visit. The problem is that the number of trains on the Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara corridor, especially during morning and evening peak hours, is insufficient. We have asked them to run more services and improve frequency as well,” said Umesh Vishe, railway passenger activist who is the Secretary of the Kalyan-Kasara Railway Passengers Welfare Association.
The rail commuters claim that after the completion of the Thane-Diva 5-6 lines, the Central Railway pressed more AC local train services into the system.
In fact, the people are opting for this AC local as well yet it’s not garnering as much response as a regular non-AC local does.
“The rail authorities need to fulfil the promise of running more services after the addition of two new rail lines on Thane-Diva. This however isn’t seen on the ground,” said Nandkumar Deshmukh, president of Thane Railway Pravasi Sangh.
The railways are running Summer Special and other extra trains, plus there are Goods and Freight trains whose numbers increased during Covid lockdown. These too, are apparently eating up space meant for local trains, is what commuters claim.
“The railways should do something about running long-distance outstation trains, especially during morning peak hours. Usually, due to this, the suburban trains get late,” said Rahul Shevale, railway passenger activist.