Action stations: Eye on Andheri
A Western Railway station, Andheri connects to the Harbour Line and is the last stop on the route. With the Mumbai Metro coming up connecting Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar, the railway station has become an even more important link in the city’s transport network.
The new booking counter in the West has made Andheri station hi-tech according to many commuters. Pics/Satyajit Desai
Aspiring fashion designer, Yvonne Monteiro who commutes from Andheri daily says, “The food stalls at Andheri station are very unhygienic. The dustbins outside them are overflowing everyday and then to add to it, their sewage flows on the platform. This is a huge health hazard. I hate waiting for a train on platforms 4-5 and 2-3 as the stalls there are very dirty.”
Women commuters do not like trains coming on platforms 6-7 which are secluded. Pic/Bipin Kokate
The food stalls are not the only ones that have contributed to problems in Andheri. Minal Gonsalves who commutes from Naigaon to Andheri says, “The station has been under renovation for a long time. This has made it dusty, uneven and muddy.
Andheri station sees a large number of commuters crossing the tracks which proves perilous for some with many fast trains changing tracks here
The cleanliness has improved in the past year, but the ambience due to the work in progress is very unpleasant.” Agreeing with her, Pashuram Tiwari, a pandit who lives in Andheri says, “I wonder when Andheri station will be completely ready.
This bridge has helped improve the connection between the Mumbai Metro and the Railway Station at Andheri. Pic/Khushnum Bhandari
There was a bridge constructed towards Churchgate, then escalators installed, then a connection made between the Mumbai Metro and the middle bridge, etc which have all been on. I have started tying a scarf around my face to avoid the dust from choking me, as I am allergic to it.”
Sushmita Senapati who changes trains at Andheri says that the new foot overbridge extensions have made it difficult for her to commute. The Raheja College student says, “I change from fast to slow and vice-versa everyday. The bridges at Andheri are like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts steps, where they will lead you to is difficult to judge.
This has made me miss my train on a number of occasions. The bridges need some indicators about where they will take a person like the Mumbai Metro has, that would be very helpful.”
Commuting via the Harbour Line is troublesome for Sewri resident, Yash Jain who works at Andheri. The bank manager says, “The Harbour Line has only one bridge that connects it to the East. I have to walk the full platform length to get to work. Sometimes, crossing the tracks is a better option on days when I am running late.
I know it is risky, but with the foot overbridge being so inaccessible, it is a huge problem. If they construct a new bridge or a subway connecting the East to the Harbour Line platforms it would be a big help. I sometimes get off at Vile Parle as the platform there is better connected.”
The escalators have been a blessing to some and a not so pleasant experience for others. Dayne D’penha says, “Many times, the escalators are not working. Senior citizens and handicapped people struggle. Others also have a tough time as climbing the escalator steps is more difficult than climbing regular stairs.”
The Andheri locals coming on platforms 6-7 which is relatively less crowded and involves more walking to get to the bridge is difficult for Senapati. She says, “Like before Borivali where they announce the train will be going to platforms 7 and 8, there should also be an announcement made before Andheri. If people want to avoid getting off on platforms 6-7, they have an option of getting off at Vile Parle.”
The gap between the platform and train on platforms 2-3 is too much according to Gonsalves. She says, “I generally take a fast train from platforms 4-5, but a few days ago I took a slow. I have a leg injury which makes alighting and getting in the train tough for me.
I had to wait for every one to alight and then wade through the crowd getting in, to alight because of the steep height on platform 3.” Echoing her concerns, Monterio says, “The gap between the train and platform on the Harbour Line platforms 6-7 especially towards the CST side is a lot. There is close to a 1.5 to 2 foot gap.
Most people are in a hurry and tend to get out of the moving train, which is perilous given the gap.” Raising concerns about the slippery tiles near the newly constructed booking counter in Andheri West, D’penha says, “I have missed falling while running for a train due to the slippery surface tiles used in the new booking counter terminal.
I avoid using that now; instead I walk the length of the platform and use the other entrances and exits. I have seen a number of people fall due to the tiling.”
Spotlight on issues
With the Mumbai Metro near the railway station, there are a lot of comparisons being made between the two platforms and stations. With more expensive tickets, the Metro has more security and is cleaner than the railway station. All the bridges at Andheri railway station have a booking counter or smart card machine on them.
The dustbins at the station are few and always overflowing. The benches are less in comparison to the number needed. A few more would be helpful for commuters. Also, some more fans would make commuting easier on hot days.
The lights on platforms 6-7 do not work properly which is a concern as the platforms get lonely post 9 pm and are removed from the main station. The construction work that is on at the station has added to the mess with broken steps and a lot of dust all over.
The station has potential and is headed in the right direction, with authorities working to bring about improvement. The rickshaw line in the East is a blessing, but the West lacks such a system which makes it problematic to get rickshaws on that side.
Steps are being taken in the right direction but the perennial work has made commuters very wary at Andheri. The medical room works well and injured people are treated at the earliest. If Andheri station is developed around the same lines as the Mumbai Metro, the railway station will be a commuter favourite soon, with quality amenities.
This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.
Cause for concern
>> Platforms 6-7 are lonely post 9 pm. They also do not have good connectivity to foot overbridges or subways.
>> Dustbins are not cleaned regularly and sewage from stalls flows on the platforms.
>> Gap between train and platform on platforms 2, 3, 6, 7 is too much.
>> The bridges are a maze for commuters who find it difficult to comprehend which leads where. Steps and tiles are broken at many places.
>> The escalators do not work properly.
>> Tiles near the new booking counter are slippery, cause many to fall and get injured.