Trains are less crowded. Really?
If statistics provided by the railway officials are to be believed, then in the last few years, the number of commuters per coach has gone down considerably, providing some much-needed relief to the passengers.
As per official data, the Central Railway (CR) has increased its services from 1,216 (2006-07) to 1,578 (2011-12), thus brining down the number of passengers per coach from 289 to 226. Similarly, even the Western Railway (WR) has upped its services from 1,043 (2006-07) to 1,250 (2011-12), reducing the number of passengers per coach from 288 to 241. A WR official said, “An increase in the number of coaches and frequent services has reduced the crowd. We have succeeded in bringing down the number of passengers travelling per coach, thus providing relief to the passengers. Moreover, we are in process of operating more 15-car trains.” The official added that with the increased number of services, passengers could now afford to skip crowded trains and board the next one. While the carrying capacity of a coach is 100 (seated) and 250 during peak hours, number of passengers per coach touches 450.
“If the passengers still feel that they are travelling in crowded trains, it is because the number of commuters has increased in the last few years,” the official said. According to a study conducted by the WR over the past three years, number of commuters per train had gone down by almost 18 per cent. This decrease was registered after the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) introduced new trains/coaches. While the earlier carrying capacity of old 12-car trains was pegged at 6,500 passengers, the number has come down to 5,300 passengers in the new trains.
‘It’s getting worse’
While the railway authorities seem to be highly content with their achievements, commuters on both the lines — Central and Western — aren’t amused at all. Advocate Vipin Mishra, who commutes regularly from Borivli to Churchgate, said, “I’ve been travelling on this route for the past six years and till date have never felt that the crowd has decreased. On the contrary, it’s only increasing. I have no idea from where do the railway authorities get such figures.” Seconding Mishra’s opinion, Ashwin D’mello, a CR commuter said, “The situation has gone from bad to worse. Number of passengers has gone up in first class and second class both. The officials who publish figures should undertake train journeys and they will come to know the difference between the published figures and reality.”
Subhash Gupta, a member of National Rail Users Consultative Committee (NRUCC) and president of Yatri Sangh (Mumbai), said, “On one hand railway authorities are saying that the number of passengers has increased, on the other, they are stating that number of commuters per coach has decreased. How can they say two things at the same time? Either they are lying or publishing false reports. Though the number of services has gone up, it has hardly benefited the commuters.”
A K Singh, PRO, CR, said, “After the introduction of 12-car trains, we have been receiving positive feedbacks from passengers, stating that the move has reduced commuter load per coach. Moreover, the new coaches provided by the MRVC are spacious in comparison to the old ones.” Despite repeated attempts, Sharat Chandrayan, WR spokesperson, remained unavailable for comment.
Did you know?
>> Conversion of trains from 9-car to 12-car has increased trains’ carrying capacity by 33% each
>> While CR has completed conversion of all its 9-car trains into 12-car ones, the work on Western and Harbour lines is still in progress