Almost eight months after the suspension of services, the Central Railway (CR) has now decided to run eight special suburban services on the Nerul-Belapur-Kharkopar route from Friday. The decision has brought relief to thousands of residents of Ulwe, a developing node in Navi Mumbai which has a limited mode of transportation available.
The node is located around 10 km away from Nerul and Belapur along the Belapur-Uran highway near the upcoming Navi Mumbai International Airport.
The resumption of suburban services on the Nerul-Belapur-Kharkopar route will help office going citizens to save time and money. At present, only a few services of Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport (NMMT) are available. In the absence of train services, even commuting within Navi Mumbai from Ulwe is a challenge and people have to shell out double or triple fare in an autorickshaw.
At present, there are limited services, mainly for officer goers. The suburban services from Kharkopar to Nerul will depart at 9.15 am and 6.15 pm, while those for Belapur will start at 10 am and 7 pm. Similarly, the local train services from Nerul will depart for Kharkopar at 8.45 am and 5.45 pm, while the services from Belapur will start at 9.32 am and 6.32 pm.
Vijay Kundu who works in an IT company in Airoli says that he gets an office pick-up vehicle in Seawoods. However, reaching Seawoods is a challenge for him. “There are few services of NMMT buses which are over-crowded during office hours. There is no social distancing in the buses and it also time-consuming,” said Kundu. He added that he stays at sector 16 while the buses are available for Nerul is at sector 19. “I have to walk almost 2 km every day to catch an over-crowded bus,” fumes Kundu.
Even other citizens have similar stories. Vinod Chavan who works in BMC says that he has to pay a double auto-rickshaw fare when he returns in the night from work.
However, the resumption of limited services has irked many residents. Nisha Sunil, another resident who works in an IT firm in Vashi says that there should be more services in the morning as my office starts early. “The first train from Kharkopar is available at 8.45 am while my office starts at 9 am. I cannot reach Vashi if I take the first train. I have to shell out around Rs 400 to Rs 500 per day on commuting which is not affordable for a long time,” said Nisha.