On Saturday, a hopeful Swapna Gupta arrived at Dadar station with her family, having travelled all the way from Madhya Pradesh to seek treatment for her cancer-stricken sister-in-law. Over 24 hours after their train rolled into the station, they were still stranded at the station last evening, not having found a single taxi to take them to their destination.
Swapna said, “Our train arrived at 4 pm on Saturday. Since then we have been waiting at the station without any mode of transport in sight. We have come all the way from Madhya Pradesh to get my sister-in-law admitted to Tata Memorial hospital. She has been suffering from abdominal cancer and we had heard about Tata hospital in the city, and chose to get her treated here.”
The Gupta family was one of the thousands whose arrival in the city after travelling long distances was marred by the complete absence of taxis and autos outside stations.
Swapna added, “We are not aware of the bus routes in the city and hence we have decided to stay here at the station until taxi services are resumed. As the stalls at the station are closed, my husband has gone all the way to CST with fellow passengers to get some food to eat. Our journey lasted for less than 15 hours, but we have been stranded at the station for over 20 hours without food.”
At Dadar station, many travellers who had dismounted from outstation trains were stranded, heavy luggage in tow, with all taxis deciding not to ply.
Sustenance was also a problem for these tired passengers, as food and juice stalls at railway stations across the city remained closed.
Travellers who were scheduled to board long distance trains in the evening hours yesterday were seen moving into the station in the morning, having left hours early fearing hurdles along the way.
The wait was a long and difficult one, as stores and restaurants outside the stations were firmly shut. In streets and localities across the city that bore a deserted look uncharacteristic of a Sunday morning, people were seen dragging their heavy luggage towards the nearest stations or bus stops, in the absence of taxis and autos to ferry them.
Railway officials at the station said that stall owners had voluntarily shut down their establishments. An official, who did not wished to be identified said, “These stall owners have decided to remain closed today. They may not open their stalls till 9 pm.”