Action Stations: Mahim offers a mixed bag

The Harbour Line and Western Railway junction is a some cheers, some jeers halt for commuters

For Mumbaikars, Mahim Junction is a vital station as it links the Western Railway and Harbour Line. The station connects to important places of worship, educational and health facilities.

Women commuters feel unsafe at Mahim station. Pics/Atul Kamble
Women commuters feel unsafe at Mahim station. Pics/Atul Kamble

Beware of miscreants
Station infrastructure at Mahim station has been vandalised by mischief makers on a number of occasions. Mathura Pednekar, a banker who works in the area says, “The dustbins, benches, sign boards and shops at Mahim station are damaged by errant commuters. The destruction of public property at the station causes inconvenience to many.

Though the station has two foot overbridges, people often cross tracks
Though the station has two foot overbridges, people often cross tracks

The police need to take note and stop this menace.” College student, Pankti Shah who commutes to Santacruz daily says, “The station feels unsafe at a number of times. Evenings and nights see men and young boys harassing women commuters. Thankfully, there are policemen at the station, so we can complain. But this does not stop them from harassing.”

Since the platforms are often deserted, people complain of robberies especially on the Harbour Line platforms
Since the platforms are often deserted, people complain of robberies especially on the Harbour Line platforms

Yamini Parekh, a dancer who lives at Mahim says, “I avoid getting off at Mahim station post 10 pm as the station is very lonely. I take a train to Bandra and then take a taxi from there. It is a much better and safer option for me. I was once robbed of my gold chain and molested while travelling at Mahim at 11:30 pm, this incident has made me scared of travelling late from the station.”

Infrastructure issues
“The foot overbridges at Mahim have broken steps and the iron rods are protruding at a number of places. This is very dangerous as they may hurt commuters on the run. Many people change trains from the Harbour to the Western Line, and so the station is always crowded,” says Shah.

Pankti Shah Simrita Lobo
Pankti Shah and Simrita Lobo

Ashwin Tolaskar, a businessman says, “I am a senior citizen and want to sit when I wait for the train. The benches are few and that too, broken, in this weather it is really a sad state. The fans at the platforms also do not work. Platforms 2 and 5 are really bad and those are the ones I use often.”

For media professional Simrita Lobo, the garbage is an eyesore. She says, “The dustbins at the station are either broken or overflowing. People spit and litter all over as a result. The railways need to install more dustbins and clear them at regular intervals.”

Baldev Singh, a teacher says, “People conveniently cross the tracks to get from the Harbour Line to the Western. This is a social evil in addition to being dangerous. The railways need to fine such people. When there are footover bridges, why should anyone cross the tracks?”

Booking tickets at Mahim is troublesome as the counters are often closed. Imran Yousuf, an accountant who works at Mahim says, “Most of the ticket counters are closed and the smart card machines also do not work properly. Getting a ticket at Mahim is a painful process. Better operational smart card machines and ticket counters are needed.”

More woes
The gap between the train and platform is dangerous with platforms 1 and 2 seeing a number of accidents. Rustom Bawa, a chef says, “The Harbour Line train-platform gap is decent. But the Western side especially platforms 1 and 2 have a huge gap which makes it dangerous to get in and out of the train. My mother tripped and fell and had to be treated at the medical room at the station.

The medical facility is really good as she was given timely treatment.” “The toilets are dirty. I got an infection by using them last month. Now by opting to not use them I am still risking illness. There are rodents and cockroaches in the toilets which makes them very unhygienic,” says Salma Khan.

Purushottam Siva, a professor and Mahim resident endorses, “The toilets are in horrible condition. Even worse is the availability of food and water at the station. There was a stall on platform 1 but it has been closed for the last few months. Fortunately, there are food stalls outside the station. There is need for the stall at the station to be reopened."

The availability of taxis and buses outside Mahim station is good with many places within walking distance. The slopes have been reconstructed into large steps to stop people from crossing the tracks. There is a need for more awareness as people still continue to jump and cross the tracks despite the preventive measures.

Though the negatives outweigh the positives at Mahim station, the problems are not overwhelming and can be ironed out.

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

Litany of troubles
>> Toilets are unclean and infested with rodents and insects.
>> The foot overbridges have broken steps and rods that come out which is dangerous.
>> The food stall on the platform needs to be reopened.
>> More dustbins, fans and smart card machines are needed.
>> Police presence should be increased so that there is no vandalism and crimes.
>> The gap between the platform and train on platforms 1 and 2 need to be bridged.

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