Commuters travelling on the Central Railway consider Kurla the change-a-train spot from Harbour Line to the Main Line and vice-versa. The station with eight platforms sees railway traffic and commuter rush from both lines.
The women’s washroom at the station is better avoided, say female commuters. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
For college student Naomi Fernandes who commutes from the station every day, Kurla is far from ideal. She says, “There are very few dustbins on the Harbour Line platforms. Even if I want to throw garbage in a dustbin, they are very inaccessible. There are some more dustbins comparatively on the Main Line platforms but those are always overflowing.”
Kurla station has always seen many people rushing to and fro. Pic/Atul Kamble
Kharghar resident Priyanka Rajiv, who travels to Kurla every day, says, “The ladies washrooms are very dirty. Since, I travel from far, I often feel like going to the washroom to relieve myself, but the toilets are filthy. I suffered a urine infection recently, because of the terrible condition.” The advertising professional who works at Saki Naka says, “I have now reduced my water intake to avoid having to go to the washroom in between work and home. I know that it is not a healthy thing to do, but I have no option. I have tried speaking to the station superintendent to draw his attention to the issue, but he says he cannot do much.”
Durga Deshpande, a teacher who commutes from Vikhroli to Kurla, says, “The Kurla station toilets are in a terrible condition. Using them or not using them both can lead to major health issues. The authorities need to look into the matter and figure out a solution to the problem. As a woman, there are times when I have no option but to go to the washroom, the Kurla station toilets are all in a pathetic condition. I prefer going to a mall’s washroom which is about 20 minutes away to be safe.”
Wasim Pathan who lives at Kurla says he was robbed at the station five times in the last year. The businessman says, “Kurla station is very crowded at peak hours with people rushing and pushing to and fro. But after 8 pm and before 6 am, the station is very shady. Travelling before and after these hours is a perilous affair. There are thieves on the prowl; there are hardly any policemen at this time which compounds the problem.”
Apeksha Awaji, security professional, has faced a number of sexual attacks at Kurla. She says, “I have started getting off at Vidyavihar when I get done late at work. In the past six months, I have been molested thrice. I even tried registering a complaint, but in the crowd it is tough to catch the culprit. Also, the police at the station are not very approachable.”
“I was robbed of my gold chain by some goons at knife-point a few days ago. When I went to the railway police, they asked me to file an FIR which I did. They took swift action, checked the CCTV footage to nab the thieves. I did not get my chain back, but the gang was caught which is a good thing,” says Deshpande.
Pramod Kamble who travels to Kurla everyday says the lights at the station are often not working. He adds, “Kurla station, especially the Harbour Line platforms have very few tube lights and bulbs which make it very difficult for commuters after sunset. Thieves take advantage of the bad lighting. Also, old people find it very difficult to see when they walk at these times. My elderly parents have a tough time when we come from my sister’s house at Mankhurd.”
“The lighting on platform 1 at Kurla station towards the CST side near the ladies compartment is bad. After 11 pm, there are only two ladies compartments; I opt for the middle one as there are more tube lights on the platform near that,” says Fernandes.
Fans at Kurla station also are a problem according to Hashim Ansari, an architect. He says, “When I change lines, I sometimes have to wait for as long as 30 minutes at Kurla for my Vashi train. The benches at Kurla station’s Harbour Line platforms are located away from the fans. After a tiring day, I want to relax as I wait for the train. But I have to end up choosing between a bench or fan as they are both not in the same space.”
The bridges at Kurla station connect the platforms well but the steps on the first bridge towards CST and the middle one have broken steps which are perilous for commuters. The ticket booking process is a little laboured as coupon and smartcard machines in both the West and the East are often not working which forces commuters to stand in long lines. The station has need for better cleanliness and lighting as well as cleaner toilets for both men and women.
Since Kurla is such an important station on the Central Railway, better facilities for commuters are vital. Women’s security and availability of taxis and rickshaws outside the station also need attention. The medical facility at Kurla is good with speedy attention given to those who fall or are injured.
The food stalls are well located at the station, too. Also, the gap between the train and platform is more in some places on the Harbour Line platforms and needs to be bridged. Commuters end up jumping from a height to get off and in trains which is dangerous. This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.
>> Dustbins are few and not emptied regularly.
>> Washrooms are unhygienic.
>> Not enough security leads to rise in crimes.
>> Bad lighting on the platforms.
>> Not enough benches and fans.