Action Stations:Commuters give Mumbai Central a 'clean' tag

Mumbai Central railway station is an important halt on the Western Railway line for outstation trains. It is also vital for commuters because of its strategic location in the heart of the city

The last stop before a train becomes a fast or a slow; Mumbai Central is in the heart of the metropolis. With outstation trains on the Western Railway terminating and starting from the station, the local station is very vital to the city.

Mumbai Central is by and large a hygienic station, say commuters. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Mumbai Central is by and large a hygienic station, say commuters. Pics/Bipin Kokate

Kinjal Lania, Mira Road resident commutes to her college at Peddar Road via Mumbai Central. She says, “I am pursuing a professional course and sometimes have to go home late at night.

Suburban train commuters find it tough to get taxis outside the station
Suburban train commuters find it tough to get taxis outside the station

The station is very lonely and there is no police official near the ladies compartment. I feel very unsafe as the platform is eerie, with many mischief-makers all around.”

Crossing tracks at Mumbai Central towards the Tardeo side is common, but there are no excuses for this
Crossing tracks at Mumbai Central towards the Tardeo side is common, but there are no excuses for this

Spick ‘n’ span
Andheri resident, Deepanshu Verma who commutes to Mumbai Central often, says, “The station is very clean with cleanliness marshals sweeping and swabbing the platforms at regular intervals. If any station had to get the ‘cleanest in Mumbai’ award, I would give it to Mumbai Central.”

Mumbai Central is an important station on the Western Railway line
Mumbai Central is an important station on the Western Railway line

Naynika Bagrecha says, “Mumbai Central station dustbins on all platforms are used by people regularly. The cleanliness marshals dispose of garbage from the bins at regular intervals, which help keep the station clean. There is no litter on the platforms.”

Kinjal Lania Deepanshu Verma Naynika Bagrecha
Kinjal Lania, Deepanshu Verma and Naynika Bagrecha

College professor, Neeta Pednekar, Haji Ali resident says, “Compared to others, Mumbai Central has clean toilets. Only problem is that they are not very accessible as they are in the Eastern building where the outstation trains platforms are.”

Engineer Mehul Wahi who works at Tardeo says, “There are many stations where the toilets are in pathetic condition; the toilets here are a welcome change. I don’t mind some inconvenience if it means using a hygienic toilet.”

West vs East
“Finding the booking counter in the West at Mumbai Central is troublesome,” says Verma. He adds, “The counter is a tiny room below a tree and is almost impossible to find for a first-timer. Maybe a board informing commuters where the booking counter is located would be helpful.”

The booking counter in the East is easy to locate and has many booking windows and smart card machines. Businessman Felix Tellis says, “When it comes to getting tickets, Mumbai Central booking window operators are very efficient, the lines move fast. Be it 6 am or 11 pm, all the ticket windows are open on the Eastern side. The Western side however is bad. That needs to be renovated as well, so as to operate better.”

The bridges that connect the platforms to each other as well as the Eastern and Western entry-exits are well-maintained. Suchi Vora, an animation professional, says, “Mumbai Central has three bridges that connect well. There is a slope option for those changing from outstation to local, to take their bags down with ease, and steps for other local commuters. Also, the bridges are well maintained which makes it easy to commute from the station.”

Some negatives
A missing roof on the platforms towards the Churchgate end of the station is a problem, say commuters. Anil Manthan, an aspiring actor, says, “It is very inconvenient standing in the searing heat, without a roof. During the monsoons too, this same stretch causes discomfort. If a roof was constructed, it would solve the problems. Many commuters would benefit from it.”

The walk to a bridge for commuters who take compartments towards the Chuchgate side is too much. Mohammad Hanif, a senior citizen, says, “I have a problem whenever I travel to Naigaon where my relatives stay. The trains are always crowded and walking to the senior citizens’ compartment sometimes takes a long time. The bridges here are elevated, so the climbing up and down is inconvenient.”

With clean platforms and toilets as well as good foot overbridges, compared to the other stations in the city, Mumbai Central seems like a commuter haven. The food stalls are hygienic and well located. The station has a functional medical room.

No roofs on certain parts of the platforms, problems in locating the ticket counter in the West, difficulty in getting a taxi outside the station as well as security concerns after 11 pm, are some minor niggles for commuters. If these are addressed, Mumbai Central will truly be the city’s top station.

This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.

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