Now, census on local trains

State and Railways want to know exactly how many people commute on CR and WR every day to help add new services, stations and also upgrade security

With nearly a whopping seven million commuters travelling every day via suburban local trains, it is considered to be one of the most densely populated rail networks in the world.

Taking this into consideration, for the first time, a holistic survey will be carried out by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to determine the number of commuters inside local trains, those using the entry/exit points and number of people walking on the circulating areas connecting the platforms with the station area.

Counting game: Officials say that the survey determining the number
of commuters using the Western and Central Railways will help them
plan newer stations, routes and add more lines. File pic

Moreover, considering that it is a joint venture (50:50) between the State government and Indian Railways, who are chiefly involved in getting more trains, studying and mapping newer suburban routes on both Western and Central Railways, such a survey is a must for the planning authorities like MRVC.

To do so, the MRVC recently appointed an international private consultant for the job. "We have appointed Wilbur-Smith Associates for implementing this survey that will start soon," said Prakashrao Vazalwar, chief operation manager and spokesperson for MRVC.

Security upgrade
Besides, the survey is important from the security aspect as well, as the railways are looking at tightening the security at the entry/exit points at stations.

"The idea is to thoroughly identify these points that are not under constant use. Accordingly, steps could be taken," said a MRVC official, requesting anonymity.

Once the approximate number of commuters actually using the suburban stations is determined, there would be better scope for planning newer stations, routes and adding lines. Moreover, there is scope for improving the station areas, especially by opening newer ticket windows, levelling surface of platforms, maintaining toilets, apart from keeping it aesthetical by placing paintings, removing unnecessary hoardings and replacing damaged tiles.

"This is an important exercise, as it would help us determine the actual need for expansion in the railway routes and places where development could be concentrated. We have been upgrading the number of coaches in trains and these figures could very well show us the results," added the official.

Failed attempt
A similar survey was undertaken in 2009, where the MRVC had done a head-count. However, the officials claim that it didn't meet their expectations and that they felt the numbers arrived at were flawed. During this survey, surveyors were posted in the first and second-class ladies and general compartments of trains.

33 lakh
Daily commuters on the WR

37 lakh
Daily commuters on CR (including Harbour line)

Average number of commuters in a train during peak hours

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