Commuters feel the crush as Mumbai Metro Line 1 gets overcrowded

Jun 30, 2018, 12:54 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

With latest figures showing Metro's daily ridership has bulged to almost 4 lakh, commuters are feeling the crush and are demanding extra coaches

Commuters feel the crush as Mumbai Metro Line 1 gets overcrowded
Andheri and Ghatkopar remain the stations with the maximum ridership. File pic

Mumbai's lone Metro is becoming another local train during peak hours — one with crush load. The rate at which commuter crowd has been increasing is evident from the kind of complaints and grumbling circulating on social media platforms. Besides longer queues at the scanners on Metro stations, the trains have been running completely packed. Transport experts have said it is time the four-car rake was converted into a six-coach one.

Inaugurated on June 8, 2014, the 11-km Mumbai Metro One has witnessed immense growth. In fact, in its own admission, a note earlier this year said the growth has been faster than expected. “Year after year, Mumbaikars are using Mumbai Metro One as their preferred choice of daily commute. It took 398 days to achieve its first 100 million [mark], 388 days to achieve its second 100 million ridership, while its third 100 million mark was achieved in just 337 days. The fourth 100 million ridership has been achieved in only 300 days,” the note read, adding that the company had “redefined MRTS commuter experience in the country”. The “redefining”, however, is what seems to have led to the immense crowding, with it increasingly taking longer to get in and get out of stations. Also, there is hardly any space to stand in the train.

The Andheri-Ghatkopar route is among the busiest with a lot of offices, industrial units and the airport along the stretch. File pic
The Andheri-Ghatkopar route is among the busiest with a lot of offices, industrial units and the airport along the stretch. File pic

Buzzing busy bee
The Andheri-Ghatkopar route is among the busiest with a lot of offices, industrial units and the airport along the stretch; 378 to 382 trips are run on weekdays daily. The Metro also acts as a connector between Western Railway (Andheri) and Central Railway (Ghatkopar). The routes between Andheri and Western Express Highway and Andheri and Azad Nagar have seen the highest growth — 48 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively. The entire corridor, too, witnessed a growth of 13 per cent in ridership in 2017-18 compared to the previous year. Andheri and Ghatkopar remain the stations with the maximum ridership — 1,05,745 and 87,116, respectively — on a typical weekday. According to figures, it operated 1,25,894 trips in 2017-18 with Peak Hour Peak Direction Traffic of approximately 29,000 commuters.

Expert view
City transport experts said the time had come for all Metro trains to be converted into six-coach rakes from the existing four. “Growth is good news, but it should also be about commuter comfort. The operator should now think of running longer trains for a better commute. The Metro has been planned and conceived to ferry six-car trains; hence, the conversion should not be difficult, as the basic infrastructure and amenities are already in place. If not all, they can do it in phases,” said Ajit Shenoy of Mumbai Transport Forum. Veteran transport expert Ashok Datar said, “I, too, had suggested to them about this [increasing number of coaches]. They should do that to offer passengers a comfortable ride.”
While the capacity of existing four-car train is 1,178 passengers, increasing it to six coaches will take it to 1,792. The platforms and other related infrastructure is already equipped to handle six-car trains.

13%
Growth in ridership in 2017-18

382
No. of trips the VAG Metro runs on a weekday

1,178
Passenger capacity of the existing four-car train

1,792
Commuters it will be able to accommodate if made six-coach

90
Minutes it used to take to travel from Andheri to Ghatkopar

21
Minutes it takes to cover the distance via the Metro

Also Read: Mumbai may have driverless Metro trains by 2021

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