Action stations: Chembur challenges
Chembur is an important station on the Harbour Line, with thousands of commuters travelling to and fro. Kevin Gogri who uses the station every day says, “Chembur station is fairly clean.
Getting into the Harbour Line trains here is troublesome for many commuters. Pic/Sameer Markande
There is no drinking water facility though. Also, we need more benches on the platforms. The lights work well and commuting early morning and late at night isn’t a problem. However, there is only one toilet at the station which always stinks, it is unusable.”
The crowded trains and platforms at Chembur cause commuters numerous woes. Pic/Suresh KK
Riyaz Shaikh who commutes to Kurla every day from Chembur says, “The station is clean but the toilet is in a terrible state. I sometimes prefer using the monorail station washrooms as they are much cleaner. The skywalk connects the railway station to the monorail station and so using that washroom is a more hygienic option.”
For Mamta Gada, who works at Airoli and has to take a train from Chembur every day, the toilet is a no go place. She says, “There is no toilet on platform 2, so if I want to go to the washroom, I have to cross and go to platform 1 where the toilet is mostly closed. Once when I found it open, I went in, it was very dirty. People passing by can peek in from the windows.”
Agreeing with her, Nirmala Phanse, a nurse says, “Chembur station toilets have been problematic for more than two years now. I developed kidney stones, since I was unable to use a washroom. Women need a safe and hygienic place to relieve themselves; sadly Chembur station does not provide one.”
Businessman Chiranjeevi Ahire says the infrastructure at Chembur station is not up to the mark. He says, “The station looks like it is 50-60 years old. It needs to be renovated and made more like Vashi and Sanpada stations.
Often, the booking counters in the East are closed, so I have to go all the way to the West to book my ticket. The ticket checkers don’t understand the problem and I have been fined on a number of occasions.”
Citing issues with the smart card and coupon machines, Nadeem Khan, Masjid resident says, “I often travel across the Central and Harbour Lines and so I use coupons or smart card machines.
The biggest problem is that at Chembur, almost every day the machines are not working. So, even though I have a smart card and coupons they end up being useless as the machines do not work. I am then forced to stand in line for a ticket which takes a lot of time.”
Mohita Tarakant, Andheri resident says she faces problems every time she comes to visit her parents at Chembur. The teacher says, “Very often only one counter is working and hence, there is a long queue. I once got into an argument with the ticket counter operator as he closed the counter abruptly without it being break time.
He claimed he had an issue to attend to and therefore, was closing the counter. He accused me of not understanding his problem. The other counters did not open and the one that was open had a huge line, which meant I had to join that and stand for more time.”
Take a cue
Ahire compares the cleanliness of Chembur railway station to the monorail station. He says, “Chembur railway station which sees more commuters than the monorail is in a sad state.
The dustbins are overflowing and the platforms are rarely cleaned. The benches also are not in proportion to the commuters who travel to and from this station. The skywalk connects the station and Chembur East well so that is a big blessing I would say, a silver lining.”
“Chembur is safe and the lighting on the railway station is good. I often come home after 11 pm and I feel safe. I have never seen any railway police on the station, but the platforms are safe from mischief makers.
More fans and bridges would be better. Often when I miss a train, I have to wait for a long time for the next one. At moments like this, I always wish there were more fans and benches on the platform,” says Gada.
Since, Chembur has both a monorail as well as a railway station comparison between the two is expected. But the connectivity of the railway network is more, ticket fares are lower. There is a need for ticket counters to operate better, for clean toilets for both men and women as well as more fans and benches on the platforms at the railway station.
The gap between the train and platform is quite big and that is perilous for commuters on platforms 1 and 2. The bridge connectivity is good and it is in a good condition. Some positives but the station has a lot of negatives that need urgent attention.
This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.
>> Toilets are locked
>> Not enough benches
>> Ticket counters are often closed
>> Smart card and coupon machines don’t work
>> The station isn’t cleaned regularly