Looking at the popularity and growing demand by the commuters, Western Railway has decided to increase the number of AC local services over the Mumbai Suburban section with effect from May 16. With the introduction of 12 new AC services, the total number of AC services will now increase from 20 to 32 on Western Railway.
Confirming the same, Sumit Thakur, Chief PRO, Western Railway said that the fares for AC local journey tickets have been substantially reduced with effect from May 5. “With this reduction, there has been a rise in the number of commuters travelling by AC locals. Hence, for the comfort and convenience of the commuters, we will be introducing 12 more AC local train services from May 16. Out of the additional 12 services being introduced, we will be running 6 services each on Up and Down directions,” said Thakur.
The WR operates 20 services and from Monday it will go up to 32 services. In the Up direction, there are 5 services between Virar and Churchgate, and one between Bhayandar and Churchgate. Similarly, in the Down direction, there are 4 services between Churchgate and Virar, one each between Churchgate – Bhayander and Andheri – Virar.
These new AC local services will run from Churchgate to Virar/Bhayander at 9.27 am, 12.34 pm, 3.44 pm, 6.11 pm and 23.23pm. And one on the Andheri-Virar route runs at 8.50 pm. Meanwhile, five additional AC services will be operated on the Virar-Churchgate route in the Up direction at 7.57 am, 10.58 am, 2.09 pm, 7.48 pm and 9.48 pm. There will be one service at 5.02 pm that will run between Bhayander-Churchgate.
The decrease in fares of daily journey tickets by up to 50 percent has had a visibly possible impact on ridership inside AC local trains. The average per day ridership in May has touched 32000 which used to be 22000 in April when they sold 1867 journey tickets while in May it was almost double at 3822 tickets.
The Churchgate-Borivali daily journey fare is Rs 95 for AC local as against Rs 180 before April 5. The First Class ticket used to cost Rs 150 per ticket which is now Rs 85. The minimum fare for AC for covering a 5-km distance is Rs 35 instead of Rs 65, First Class daily ticket is Rs 25 as against Rs 50. The Central Railway has also increased AC services to 56 from 44 from May 14 and has also withdrawn 16 AC services on the Harbour line to the Main line.
The CR authorities will divert the AC trains running to Navi Mumbai on CSMT-Panvel and CSMT-Goregaon Harbour line onto the Main line between CSMT-Kalyan section. This is mainly because of poor patronage on the Harbour line that has catered 37180 passengers with daily average of only 522 passengers which forms a mere 3.50 percent of total passengers travelling in the AC trains on all lines. The CR for the first time will run a few AC train services on Sundays and holidays as well.
According to figures collated by the Central Railway authorities, in April the average number of total passengers per day was 19761. Out of this, there were 17473 passengers on the Main line and 2288 on the Harbour line.