Take bus or train if cabs, autos don't ply

BEST, railways to run special services tonight; expecting harassment, some autos, taxis may stay off road

Here's some good and bad news for the revellers wanting to enjoy New Year's Eve to the fullest. On one hand, where the BEST and the railways have decided to run extra services for the convenience of  partygoers, on the other, some auto and taxi drivers have decided to stay off the road.

The latter fear that unruly crowd and the genuine dislike for them could subject them to harassment unnecessarily.

The bad news
"On New Year's Eve, drivers often complain about drunkards beating them or abusing them for refusals. During such encounters, the driver not only loses money, but also risks getting hurt," said A L Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen's Union.

According to sources in the union, usually only 70 per cent of the taxis operate during nighttime. However, the number reduces to almost half on New Year's Eve.
According to some of the union members, though the exact number of taxis is 42,000, only 36,000 ply passengers on a regular basis as the remaining fleet of 6,000 cabs is absent due to some or the other technical glitch.

Similarly, even the auto unions claim that only 60 per cent of the total fleet of 1.04 lakh autos is active during nighttime.

"There is likelihood that New Year's Eve could witness a sharp drop in the number of on-road autos," stated Shashank Rao, Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Mens Union. "Apart form ugly traffic jams, drivers often complain of abuses they are subjected to by the unruly commuters," he added.

The good news
Keeping in mind the commuting woes faced by the revellers, the Western Railway (WR) has decided to operate trains on the Churchgate-Virar line.

While the first Virar-bound local leaves Churchgate at 1.45 am, the timings for the Churchgate-bound train has been set at 12.40 am. While the second Virar-bound local leaves at 3.15 am, the Churchgate-bound local departs from Virar at 2 am.

Even the Central Railway (CR) has announced special trains. While the Kalyan special will depart from CST at 1.10 am, a CST-bound train will leave Kalyan at 1.15 am. For Harbour line, a Panvel special train will leave CST at 1.20 am. Similarly CST-bound local will depart form Panvel at the same time.

Is the expected number of passengers the railways will ferry during each of its special trips

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