Mumbaikars are ready to tweak their commuting schedules, as the rains arrive. Tighten your seatbelts, city it is take-off time
As the city continues to simmer in the summer heat, the monsoon is nigh. But Mumbaikars sigh. The city roads seem far from ready for the rains. Andheri’s Chakala area resident Cheryl Baretto says, “The roads are all dug up with some cable work, telephone work, electricity or gas work on.
The flooded streets in the city are a nightmare for many commuters. Pic/Sameer Markande
It was drizzling recently. If it rains, even one shower will make the road worse. There is a stretch near my house in the Dewalwadi area which has been dug, walking on the road is tough. In the rains, matters will only become worse, this can cause disease too.”
The Mumbai Metro had some leakage issues which caused commuters some woes last year
Taxi and autos
Getting a taxi from Dadar station to the Hindmata area where she works is troublesome during the monsoon for Archana Pawar. The teacher says, “The Central Railway trains always run late during the rains which forces me to take a cab to work.
The potholes are a backbreaker for many commuters. Pic/Suresh KK
The taxis forever refuse even in the pouring rain they have no mercy on women commuters. I often reach drenched to work as I am forced to walk due to the refusals by taxi drivers.” Kurla resident, Nadeem Ali, a technician says, “Getting a rickshaw on rainy days is very troublesome.
The rains causing train delays are a problem for many commuters on the Central, Harbour and Western Railway lines. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
I work at Vikhroli and live away from Kurla station. The rickshaw drivers are afraid their vehicles will get spoilt in the waterlogged areas of the city. Kurla being a low-lying area is often submerged which makes matters worse.” BEST buses are the best option during the rains, says Sophia college student Mahima Palande.
“The rickshaw and taxi meters run too fast and in the rains, traffic jams are inevitable. I need to manage my pocket money well and so I prefer to use BEST buses. They are economical; don’t refuse fare, only trouble is that I have to leave an hour earlier since the bus frequency during the rains is a problem,” she ends.
Potholes and woes
Masehudin Shaikh who commutes by bike says he will use the train to work. The Mira Road resident says, “The Western Express Highway which I take to work is very bad during the rains. There are potholes and also the road is slippery, I have skidded once or twice which has made me avoid using my bike.
I book a first class pass for three months from June to September and leave an hour earlier to get to work at Santacruz.” Dadar resident Kedar Parab who commutes to Tardeo by car says, “The roads are in bad condition with potholes that cause dents and damage my car.
I don’t need to go on a camel ride as the Mumbai roads are enough to give me a feel of that. There have been times when I wanted to enjoy a long drive in the rain, but the roads put me off, as do the traffic jams.”
Jigyasa Nanvekar who is five months pregnant says, “I am very scared of the monsoon because of bad roads, commuting on them in my condition is not good. I will avoid going on roads which are always bad like some in Goregaon, Malad, etc. I have already spoken to my boss who wants to be safe rather than sorry.”
Commuting challenges may be many but the thunderclouds do have a silver lining. The 26/7 deluge in the city, saw many ‘Good Samaritans’ too says Priyanka Shroff. The banker explains, “I was stuck at Dadar station as the Central Railway line was down.
I was new to the city and very scared. But strangers came to help each other in that time of need. It was pouring; I still remember how people brought blankets and food for all those stranded. It was a great moment for the spirit of Mumbai that came to the fore. I felt in love with the city and since then have, made it my home. Every monsoon that memory is refreshed.”
The Mumbai Metro has proved to be a big blessing for Andheri East resident Ubaldo Vaz. He says, “When it is not raining, I generally take my bike to work. But the bad roads between the East and West in Andheri make me opt for the metro. The service is really good even in the rains. The mode is a big blessing to commuters.”
Mumbai Metro has some negatives in the rains according to Santoshi Bhatia, a professor. She says, “The roof of the metro stations were leaking and the trains running late during the monsoon last year. There was also a problem with the metro compartments with water seeping in.
I am hoping that this year the authorities will improve the services and we get a better metro ride.” Cancelled trains, crowds, wet seats, leaking compartments are problems faced by Gaurishankar Pande every day during the monsoon. The Kalyan resident says, “I work at Santacruz and so need to get off at Kurla.
The train cancellations make me have to leave two hours earlier to reach office on time. The trains are in bad shape with seats wet, door not closing. To combat this, I now wear a raincoat to work which protects me from getting wet inside the train.”
There are some joys of travel in the Mumbai local during the monsoons though says Rhea Kumar. The college student says, “Standing at the train door with friends and getting wet as it zips pass Mahim Creek is a pleasurable experience. Eating hot bhajiyas at the station and drinking strong tea is a great experience.
I love the monsoon and commuting to college during it.” Put that down to the exuberance of youth. The drop in temperatures and a long drive is what makes the monsoon a favourite season for Harsh Motwani. The businessman says, “A long drive along Carter Road and the Bandra-Worli Sea-Link (BWSL) is an awesome drive with the pleasant weather.
These are perhaps two of the few roads that do not have much problems during the rains. My wife and I always love the rain and driving in it on weekends which rekindles the romance of our youth.” Mumbaikars have a love-hate relationship with the monsoon.
For the rainy season 2015, the people of Mumbai hope that there is less pain more pleasure. But like they say, wishes are horses and Mumbaikars need to take the ride... pothole or puddle, there’s no stopping commuting city.
>> Huge traffic jams.
>> Potholes on the roads.
>> Trains, buses and the metro run late.
>> Roads are mucky and dug up which makes walking problematic for commuters.
>> Taxis and rickshaws refuse fares.