Since the lockdown has been eased, Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) have been ferrying almost 10 lakh more passengers. Both the lines together have touched 30 lakh passengers on an average. This happened after new guidelines under Break The Chain of the Maharashtra government came into effect from June 7.
According to the data shared by rail authorities, CR saw an increase of 16 lakh in its average daily passengers on essential duty, which was around 11 to 12 lakh before June 7. Likewise, on WR, the total passengers on essential duties has touched close to 14 lakh from 9 to 10 lakh on an average.
The data shows that, on Wednesday, there was a sudden drop in footfall due to heavy rainfall and waterlogged tracks. For instance, on CR, 6.5 lakh people travelled on June 9. However, on June 10, it witnessed a footfall of 15 lakh passengers.
One of the reasons for this increase in passenger footfall is the easing of restrictions pertaining to attendance in government and private offices. Mumbai was placed under Level 3 that allowed attendance at 50 per cent. Now that Mumbai has touched Level 2, attendance can be 100 per cent. Therefore, the footfall is expected to increase further.
"This, however, need not mean that more people can travel in trains. We will wait for new guidelines from the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on who else can be allowed to travel in trains," said a railway official on the condition of anonymity.
BMC has been made a nodal agency to decide guidelines for Mumbai and MMR. Currently, the neighbouring districts of Thane and Raigad, where local trains ply, are in Level 3 or more.
The Railways first allowed people to travel in local trains from June 15, 2020, wherein initially there were mere 30,000 odd travellers. By January-end this year, close to 19 to 20 lakh people were travelling. From February onwards until March end, the average passenger count went up to 35 to 36 lakh per day. When the lockdown was again announced owing to the second wave, the total passenger count dropped to 10 lakh or so. Now again, the footfall has gone up to 30 lakh.