Action Stations: Mumbai commuters on what Bandra offers, and lacks
As the ‘Queen of the suburbs’ Bandra is the hub of Mumbai’s social circle and night life with a buzzing vibe that sets it apart. Both Bandra East and West have important business and leisure spots which makes it a significant station on the city’s map.
The architecture of the station is a marvel. Pics/Satyajit Desai
Sujeet Nagmote, college student says, “The best thing about Bandra station is the Harbour Line and Western Line which are well connected by the foot overbridges. I use both lines to commute and the indicators at the station are well located which makes it very easy to know the expected train details.” The Parel resident adds, “Bandra station has good lighting and security at all times of the day which makes it easier to commute.”
The gap between platform and trains cause problems
Media professional Samantha D’Souza who lives at Bandra says, “The best thing about the bridges at Bandra is that they have a division for commuters that are coming and going. This helps the crowd to move in an orderly fashion and avoids all the rush and pushing. Bandra is perhaps one of the few stations where the skywalks and foot overbridges connect both East and West, this makes commuting easier.”
The rickshaw line outside Bandra station is a good feature
Mayur Patil who travels to Bandra for work often says, “What the bridges at Bandra lack are booking counters. The West has a good booking system, but the East is very problematic. If I take a skywalk, I have to get off and come down to book tickets. If a smart card machine or a booking counter was kept on the bridge, commuting would have been a lot easier.”
The bridges have divisions which help avoid commuter rush
Chef Raman Pujara who works at Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) says, “If the bridges at Bandra had an indicator of where they lead to, it would help a lot. The middle bridge doesn’t connect directly to platform 1; it is more of a maze and a waste of time. For first-timers, managing to find their way in and out of Bandra station is a huge problem.”
“Getting transport in Bandra East is cumbersome,” says Kalanagar resident Rashi Parekh. The classical singer says, “Rickshaws literally run a mafia in the East. While the West has a good, functional rickshaw line outside the station; the East doesn’t have one. Getting BEST buses in the East is also a problem.”
Sujeet Nagmote, Samantha D'Souza, Mayur Patil
Pranay Gupta, a dentist who has a clinic in Bandra says, “The skywalks have made most places in Bandra walkable as they help commuters avoid the traffic. Mostly the share-a-rickshaws outside Bandra station East and West charge Rs 20 per seat. This is much more than the rickshaw meter price.
If you argue with them, they get their goons to beat you up. Sometimes, there are traffic police outside the station, so getting a rickshaw becomes easier, but there are times when they are not there especially before 8 am and after 8 pm, these are bad times.”
Bandra station has a number of good food stalls. Devendra Yadav, a businessman says, “The best restaurants in the city may be located at Bandra, but the best food at economical prices are available at the station‘s refreshment stalls. The tastiest fruit juices in this summer heat, the yummiest vada pav, samosa and pattice are available at these stalls.”
Sangeeta Rawal, a model who commutes to the suburb often says, “Bandra is the safest station. Be it 5am or 11pm, Bandra always has good security presence with police officials always patrolling the platforms. I feel very safe at the station.” “The Harbour Line platforms get a little too lonely after 11pm.
During the day, the bridges are very crowded; there are some men who use the opportunity to push and grope women. But this happens at most stations so Bandra is not an exception,” says Afreen Ulema, who works at BKC. Agreeing with her, Simran Kaur who works at Pali Hill says, “The police at Bandra station are very alert.
They are swift to get to action when it comes to crimes against women. There was a time when I complained as a man felt me up, the police got to work to analyse the CCTV footage. I did not expect anything to be done, but in a week I was called to confirm if the person they caught had touched me. I was very happy with the action taken.”
Another plus for Bandra is that the station has dustbins which are used by commuters. “The platforms are very clean. Seeing someone spit or litter at Bandra station is very rare. The schools and colleges in the area have drives regularly to create awareness and people in Bandra seem to have good civic sense," says Nagmote.
The stalls at Bandra station also maintain a high level of hygiene. Waqar Khan, an architect says, “The dustbins are cleant regularly. The station is also swept often and the bridges are kept clean. Bandra is perhaps the only station where the steps, landings and roofs of the foot overbridges are all in place. This is a big plus for the station infrastructure.”
“Bandra station toilets are stinking and dirty often. This is a negative for the station. If the person who cleans then doesn’t come, then they are in a bad condition. Basic hygiene is needed especially when it comes to a toilet. Going to a mall or a restaurant nearby is sometimes a better alternative,” says Anjali Handa, a teacher.
The gap between train and platform is too much on the Harbour Line side. Senior citizen Mohammad Anwar says, “I travel to Sandhurst Road often to visit my daughter. The gap between the train and the platform is large which makes it very difficult for me to get in and out of the train. The Harbour Line trains are always crowded which causes more problems for me as people push me.”
Bandra station has a nice garden towards the Mahim side which is well maintained and has beautiful flowers in bloom. The platforms all have sufficient number of benches and fans which makes waiting at the
station easy for commuters. The foot overbridges are well maintained and dustbins are well placed at the platforms. The ticket counters work well; however there is need for more smart card machines.
Installing smart card machines on the bridges would help commuters get tickets with ease. Cleaner toilets are an urgent need as is reducing the gap between the train and platforms on the Harbour Line side. The rickshaw mafia needs to be kept under check so that commuters are able to travel with ease.
There are a few problems that stand as hurdles in Bandra’s path of being a station for all seasons. If these are addressed, commuting to and from Bandra will be a breeze for Mumbaikars. This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.
>> Unclean toilets.
>> Big gap between platform and train on Harbour Line.
>> Lack of smart card machines on bridges.
>> Rickshaw troubles outside the station.