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Losing track? Mumbai locals less punctual than they were last year

In a city reeling under time crunch and layers of humidity, punctuality and working fans in public transport systems are of the essence; but railways track record isn’t much to go by here

When it comes to dealing with gripes from commuters, the railways seem to be at the mercy of the whims of its staffers they deem fit to improve in some areas, but offhandedly ignored other key issues.

People complain that non-functioning fans in local coaches are making their daily commute uncomfortable. File pic
People complain that non-functioning fans in local coaches are making their daily commute uncomfortable. File pic

Statistics from the Western Railway show that the railways have gotten less punctual, and its electrical equipment is more prone to breakdown, since complaints related top these matters have gone up (see box).

On the other hand, the number of plaints about improper behaviour of staff and cleanliness at stations has plunged. Railway officials say that in order to take action on the complaints, they have been constantly asking the staff to behave properly with the public.

“We got a lot of complaints from passengers last year about the staff behaving rudely or not helping them when they are in need. But, we continuously provide them training in behaviour toward the passengers,” said a senior official from the WR’s commercial department.

Sunny side
But, to their credit, the railways have stepped up in other aspects. In the fiscal 2012-13, a total of 100 cases were registered about ill behaviour, which came down to 61 in 2013-14. Complaints related to reservations, bookings, non- availability of water, unauthorised passengers in coaches, enquiry offices, catering and vending services have also gone down.

Passengers, though, say they are tired of malfunctioning of electrical equipments like fans, light etc. Malvika Sharma, who works as a marketing manager with a private firm, said, “I have to travel a lot for my work and trains are the best mode of transport for me. These days, punctuality has decreased and I never reach on time. So, I have to leave early for the destination.”

Adarsh Singh, who commutes between Mira Road and Grant Road daily, said, “Most times, the fans don’t work. In this summer, especially during rush hour, it gets really difficult to even stand in the train.” Sharat Chandrayan, chief public relations officer, Western Railway, said, “We keep track of the complaints and take necessary steps to reduce their number from time to time.”

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