How would Mumbai be without Dadar station?
This nodal station is perennially crowded, with infrastructure straining to keep pace with the surging numbers
The city’s transit point station, Dadar is always crowded with commuters changing from the Western to the Central railway lines. Dadar is also an outstation train station which makes it a very important halt on the railway map of the city.
Dadar station always has a commuter rush which is a problem for many. Pics/Satyajit Desai
Archana Pawar, a teacher who commutes to Dadar, says, “Even though the crowd at Dadar is so heavy on a daily basis, there is very little provision to control it. The security at the station is very poor. I myself have experienced men pushing and groping me. Finding the police to complain at the station is a huge problem given the commotion in Dadar.”
The toilets at the station are unhygienic, according to commuters. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Foot overbridge flaws
Dadar is easily the most crowded station but the infrastructure is poor. Antonio Fernandes who commutes from Kalyan to Santacruz for work every day, uses Dadar as the change-a-train spot. He says, “The Central Railway foot overbridges are broad, so that isn’t so problematic.
Dadar station lacks benches which makes waiting for a train an uncomfortable experience
The Western Railway foot overbridges have very narrow staircases. With the crowd always rushing and pushing — getting on and off them from one platform to another takes ages.” Narayan Pandey, a senior citizen who stays at Dadar, says, “I have trouble climbing the bridges.
The exterior of Dadar station from the flyover
People push and shout at me as I can’t ascend and descend the staircase as fast as them. At Dadar, the crowd does not thin out at any time, so I have a tough time travelling to Naigaon where my daughter lives. Other means of transport are unfeasible.”
The Central and Western Lines meet at this station
Churchgate resident Fatima Khan who commutes to Dadar daily says, “The connection between the Western and Central Railway on the first bridge towards Churchgate and the middle bridge is very bad. They do not connect well to all platforms. Dadar needs better connectivity.”
Archana Pawar, Saurabh Sharma and Antonio Fernandes
The booking counters at Dadar have multiple windows but commuters claim to have problems getting tickets. Prachi Prasanna, a teacher, says, “I have started using the smart card machine as I do not want to stand in the never ending ticket line.
At the Dadar ticket counter, people always tend to be slow and say there is no change which makes getting a ticket very problematic. Once they made me wait for 10 minutes till they got change, and I was late to work.”
Ahmed Tiffinwala, a businessman, says, “There is a need for more operational smart card machines, as well as more booking counters that are open. I was once forced to miss my train back to Karjat because there was only one booking counter open with a long line.”
A good thing according to Umesh Naik who commutes from Dadar to Panvel are the ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) on the bridges at Dadar station. Very often when it comes to booking a pass, being able to get money is a concern which is now solved by the ATMs on the bridges.”
Not so clean
“The platforms at Dadar station are not very hygienic which is a matter of concern,” says Wanda Amos, a media professional. She adds, “The general feel at the station is one of claustrophobia because of the crowd and the dirt on the platforms. People are spitting and littering at almost every corner which is very infuriating.”
Dadar station is clean only during cleanliness drives, according to Amey Shukla. He says, “There was a time when Antonio D’Silva School had a postcard awareness campaign. That was the only day I saw people using the dustbins. On the Western Railway side there are a few dustbins, but the Central Railway side is really bad, where it is a tough task to spot a bin.”
The toilets at Dadar are very dirty on both the Western and Central side. Pushpa Ramesh, a dancer says, “Basic sanitation at an important station like Dadar should be a prerogative for the railways. Many people change trains here, and being unable to go to a clean toilet is deprivation of human rights.
There are times in the monsoon when I go to a restaurant in the area only because I need to go to the washroom. I order food just to relieve myself.”
“Dadar is the best prepared station when it comes to medical emergencies,” says Pandey. He adds, “Recently, a man fell on the steps. The medical centre was so prompt that he was given first aid and treated as soon as the incident occurred. Many stations do not even have a medical centre, yet.”
There is a huge difference in the gap between train and platform on the Western and Central sides. Archana Pawar says, “The Western Railway is good when it comes to the platform and train gap. On all platforms it is easy to alight and get in.
The Central Railway on platforms 2 and 3 has gaps which make it risky as people can fall in between. The Central side needs to take some cues from the Western.” Antonio Fernandes agrees as he says, “There is a huge difference between amenities at Dadar on the Central and Western side.
Dadar station on the Western side has fewer problems as compared to Dadar Central.” Brajesh Munde, a technician, says, “The platform towards the Churchgate side on the Western Railway does not have a roof which makes it troublesome in the searing afternoon heat as one waits for the train.
If a roof was constructed on platform 4 it would be good. Commuters would be helped by the roof during the monsoon, too.” Dadar has good connectivity between the Central and Western lines given the infrastructure limitations at the station due to its location.
It is very difficult to expand Dadar; an additional platform for outstation trains on the Western Railway is now stretching almost to Matunga Road. Cleanliness and toilets need to be addressed as sanitation is a basic right. More dustbins and strict rules when it comes to spitting and littering will ensure that hygiene is maintained.
The booking counters need to operate in a better way. More smart card machines on the bridges and near the booking counters will help commuters get tickets easily. The crowds at Dadar will continue, but if woes at the station reduce, commuting from and to the station will be a much more comfortable ride.
This is part of our ongoing series on railway stations seen through the eyes of commuters.
>> Narrow bridges and staircases.
>> Smart card machines do not work and booking counters are closed.
>> Platforms and toilets are not clean.
>> Gap between platform and train is huge on the Central side.
>> Roof towards Churchgate side has not been constructed on the Western line.