Let suburban passengers travel by long-distance trains: Kirit Somaiya

In a move that could benefit thousands of daily commuters using the overcrowded local trains on the Central line, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya has urged the Railways to allow suburban local passengers to travel in long-distance trains.

"We have discussed the issue of Pravashi Suvidha Suraksha of Mumbai train commuters. Along with various measures, one small suggestion...Railway Board/Ministry be requested to allow suburban season ticket holders to travel by long- distance trains," Somaiya said in a letter to Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal.

"17412 (Mahalakshmi Express) and 17058 (Devgiri Express) and 22108 (Latur-CST SF Train) from Kalyan to CST...these trains arrive at Kalyan between 6 am to 7 am and reach CST between 7 am and 8 am. I would expect the Railway Board/ Ministry to kindly give permission to the Central Railway to allow local passengers to travel in these long-distance trains particularly the season ticket holders," he said.

According to Somaiya, around 3,000 passengers from Kalyan can get accommodated in these trains in the seats that get vacated at the station. Early this week, the Bombay High Court, to prevent overcrowding in suburban local trains, had asked Maharashtra government to consider changing office timings. It had also asked the Railways to replace the steel rods at the entrance of bogies with rubber installations so that the hands of commuters do not slip and they do not fall off the trains.

The overcrowding menace and 'lackadaisical approach' towards safety of passengers, besides failure to provide better services in suburban local trains again came to the fore when Bhavesh Nakhate, a resident of Dombivili, died after falling from a packed local train on November 27 in Thane district neighbouring Mumbai.

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