"If I don't go to work then I will become jobless. There is no other option. In these tough times, everyone needs to adjust," said a desperate Javed Shaikh, who stays in Kurla and has to travel all the way to Nerul in Navi Mumbai for work.
This is the reality. With lifeline going offline for lakhs of people, daily travel has become a nightmare. The recently revised guidelines issued by Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) too haven't opened up local trains for all barring those identified to be on essential duties.
At present, there are some 20-22 lakh daily passengers on essential duties who take the local trains daily for work. Shaikh is among the majority of those who aren't allowed to travel in local trains and are forced to take the tedious way of travel.
"I have to reach the office by 8 am. If we reach late then there are chances of losing half day's pay," added Shaikh. He leaves home at around 7 am. He either walks from Kurla East to West to catch BEST buses or when he is late then he takes the auto till the bus stop. Shaikh said that there are barely two buses on the desired route whose frequency too is less.
"There are fixed bus routes and so even if I leave earlier than 7 am, there is no guarantee of getting the bus as it's not scheduled," said Shaikh who goes with a group of 8-10 people working in Nerul in a private company.
He has been following this routine for the last 4 months and has also demanded hike in salaries to meet this rise in expense.
At times he also takes the taxi all the way till Nerul for work if he gets too late. Shaikh stated that in his meagre salary without a hike, his travel expenses have become Rs 500 or so per day. He only hopes that soon the state government opens up local trains for him and others like him who are purely struggling. He travels at least 2 hours before reaching home after an 8 hours duty.