Action Stations: Thane thoughts
The Central Railway stop’s pros and cons leave commuters with mixed feelings
It is the busiest railway station in Mumbai according to a survey conducted by the Indian Railways in 2013, but that after Andheri and Kalyan. Thane station, like all major stops is a hub of activity.
Getting into a train at Thane ensures a push 'n' pull affair. Pics/Sameer Markande
With 10 platforms, Thane sees more than 1,000 local trains and 140 outstation trains stop every day. Despite the heavy human and rail traffic, Thane is a clean station with the station swept at regular intervals, according to regular commuter Nitin Shetty.
Thane station sees many commuters at peak hours
Shetty, a gym instructor says, “Compared to other stations on the Central Railway, Thane is very clean and well maintained. I have seen sweepers cleaning the platforms at regular intervals. Yet, dustbins are scarce.
The escalators have proved to be a big blessing
If there were more dustbins, which were placed at regular intervals it would really help. When I have to dispose of litter, I have often found myself searching for a dustbin, so accessibility is key.”
The platforms may be cleaned regularly but Sharon Noronha, college student says, “The washrooms are very dirty. Even though I desperately want to use the washroom sometimes, I avoid it because of the lack of hygiene.
I prefer to not use them and fall ill instead. The toilets on platforms 2-3 from where the locals generally leave are frequently locked, so this is a huge problem because the few times they have been open, I have noticed that they are cleaner than the others.”
Even though the station is cleaned regularly, Karan Umesh, an architect says the station is not really that clean. The Ghatkopar resident says, “I get very angry when I see people throwing wrappers, spitting paan and littering almost immediately after the platform has been swept.
Civic sense is greatly lacking in people, there is a need for awareness about cleanliness in public places. This will ensure that commuters behave well.” Thane resident, Anisha Hasija suggests training for cleanliness marshals at the station.
She says, “There are many cleaners but they do not do a good job. Even after they have ‘cleaned’ the place, there is a lot of trash still there. Maybe the railways should have a supervisor or better training, so that these people do a good job.”
Trader Pankaj Voralia who commutes from Thane daily says even though there are many coupon and smart card machines, not all of them work. He says, “I have had my money get deducted and not got a ticket on a number of occasions. These type of faulty machines are plain troublesome.
There was also a time when the coupon machine had the wrong time and date, I was caught by a ticket checker (TC) and forced to pay a fine. These incidents end up spoiling my day." Nitish Naik, a researcher finds the multiple ticket counters at Thane very helpful.
He says, "Thane is the best place to book my monthly pass as there are many counters open. This makes it easier for me to get my ticket without hassles. The staff is also very helpful and friendly.”
The experience wasn’t so good for Huma Pheroze, a teacher who was forced to wait for 20 minutes because she did not give change when buying her ticket. The Seawood resident says, “I needed a ticket back to Seawood and I had an Rs 500 note. The ticket counter attendant shouted at me for not giving change.
I tried to explain to him that the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) did not give me change, but he would not listen. He made me wait till he got the change from commuters after me, even though I pleaded that I needed to get home and requested him to ask the next window attendant for change.”
Dheeraj Rathod, a banker says, “I leave early and return late, so I observe the station at odd hours. The security is very low post-10 pm and pre-6 am. These are actually the times when the station needs maximum security as many outstation trains ply at those times. There are a number of robberies that happen and no police to complain to.”
“A few days ago there was a man roaming naked on Thane station at 4 pm when I was returning from work. I was shocked and went to complain to the policemen who were sitting and not doing anything. The police told me that the man is a beggar and they cannot do anything. This incident was scary though,” says Hasija.
Jasmeet Kaur, a physiotherapist says, “I was returning home at 10 pm when a few men passed some lewd remarks about me. I went and complained to the railway police who told me that I should not make such a hue and cry as they did not touch me. Thane station is unsafe and in this case, the police did not do anything. which is more problematic.”
Thane station was the first to have escalators installed on two of its platforms on the Mumbai Railway network. This reduces the stress on the staircase, but many people run and push on these which makes it unsafe. Perhaps some escalator etiquette would do some good.
There is need for more security at the station with some women reporting molestation at various times. The lighting is good, with the station having a nice waiting room. The toilets need more sanitation and the ones on platform 2-3 need to be open more often.
The coupon, smartcard and ticket counter work well. However, a board saying that the coupon or smartcard machine isn’t working would be helpful as many commuters claim that several machines at the station are faulty. Overall, Thane proves a mixed bag, but a focus to retain the positives and maintain quality is needed.
The negatives need attention and action. This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the lens of locals.
At a glance
>> Not enough dustbins on platforms.
>> Better, cleaner toilets are needed.
>> More effective security.
>> Awareness about littering.