Bridging Borivali

The Western line halt has a lot of ongoing construction work and other issues that are posing problems to commuters

Borivali is a major station on the Western Railway line and sees lakhs of commuters alight and get in at this terminal everyday.

Borivali is a hub with many using the railway station to commute to city and suburbs. Pics/Nimesh Dave
Borivali is a hub with many using the railway station to commute to city and suburbs. Pics/Nimesh Dave

A proposal to extend the Harbour Line service to this station was made in 2006, but plans have still to take off on this front. The current station infrastructure is a mixed bag according to commuters who use the station daily.

The bridges are connected by these mobile steps which are proving to have pros and cons
The bridges are connected by these mobile steps which are proving to have pros and cons

For Nishi Shah, Raheja College student who commutes from Borivali to Santacruz says, “The station has a lot of construction work that is on which has made platforms 2-3 very uneven and dirty. There is a lot of dust and walking on the platform is a problem. I find it difficult to get in and out of the train during peak hours.”

Repairs on platforms 2 and 3 at Borivali station are causing problems for many
Repairs on platforms 2 and 3 at Borivali station are causing problems for many

Across the bridge
For Derek Fernandes, Engineering student who commutes from Andheri to Borivali, the new bridge towards Virar has proved to be a huge blessing.

He says, “The crowd on the other bridges have reduced and so it is much easier for me to get to platform 1 from where I take a bus to my college. Earlier, I had to walk all the way towards the Churchgate-end and take the bridge and then walk back to the bus stop.”

Mithibai College student, Yash Furia who commutes to and from Vile Parle to Borivali says, “I find platforms 2 and 3 very dirty and dusty because of the construction work. The bridges are uneven at points and walking is problematic especially at rush hours.

The best thing though is the skywalk which connects to all bridges at Borivali. It is less crowded, congestion-free and faster than walking on the road.” Nidhi Vira, another commuter says, “The worst time on the bridges at Borivali station is peak hours when I commute.

The middle bridge is very narrow and using it is a huge problem. The subways also are very crowded and at night, it is better to avoid using them as they have mischief makers. The indicators on the bridges and in the subways need to improve as they don’t work.”

Platform pain
For college professor Payal Mehra, the trains coming on platforms 7 and 8 at Borivali are very troublesome. The Parel resident says, “Platforms 7 and 8 are almost in Kandivali, walking the entire length is a huge problem.

Most Borivali locals come on that platform. I end up missing a number of trains. If I take a rickshaw to that platform it is Rs 10-15 more due to the traffic.” Agreeing with her, Tarun Wahi, a businessman who stays at Borivali says, “Platforms 7-8 are less crowded but they are very inaccessible. My wife finds them very unsafe.

She prefers to get off at Kandivali and take a rickshaw home to avoid untoward incidents. There should be more police protection on these platforms.” Getting a rickshaw from outside Borivali station is also a problem. Fernandes says, “On days when I am running late, I struggle a lot to get a rickshaw to my college at IC Colony.

Borivali East is much better as there is a rickshaw line there. I prefer going there to get a rickshaw rather than face refusals in the West.”

Seats and cleanliness
Shah says, “The station is on the whole clean and there are many dustbins. There are many people who litter; perhaps a little more awareness would be better. I would suggest some hoardings and more announcements to make people aware that they should not litter and spit on the station premises.”

The paucity of benches at Borivali station are a cause of worry according to Vira. She says, “There are very few benches, especially on platforms 2 and 3. Also the fans are often not working as the electric points are used to work the machines that are being used to cut the tiles being fitted on the platform. The washrooms also are in a bad state.

The ones on platforms 1 and 4 are locked. The platforms 2 and 3 washrooms are very unhygienic.” Fernandes says, “There are a number of broken benches on platforms 1, 7 and 8. The escalators are a big blessing but there are many who are not used to them.

I have seen an old man falling and injuring himself on the escalator, a few days ago. Fortunately, the medical centre at the station is well operated. He was given first aid and treatment at the earliest.”

“There is need for more facilities at Borivali with respect to sanitation in the toilets and food and water especially on platforms 7 and 8. I like the way the Mumbai Metro has awareness boards about cleanliness, maybe the railway should take a cue from those,” says Furia.

For commuters, Borivali station is better than other stations on the line, but far from ideal. The gap between the platform and train on parts of platforms 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 is too much as well as there is unevenness in the height which makes it difficult for many to get in and out of the compartments.

Even though there are many dustbins, the station is far from spick and span perhaps some more cleanliness would be good with fines imposed on offenders. The ticket counters, smart card and coupon machines work well catering to the large crowds who book tickets and passes at the station.

Perhaps, a line for commuters to get rickshaws outside the station in the West would be a blessing. This is the first part of a series on railway stations in the city. It is your window seat to boon and bane at these halts, pleasure and pain, through the lens of the locals.

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