It's not getting any better! Despite metro and monorail, Mumbai local trains getting more overcrowded

Apr 12, 2017, 08:40 IST | Shashank Rao

Despite, metro and monorail services, as well as Uber, Ola and various other app cabs, last financial year saw a massive rise of 2.51L commuters in the last financial year

A rise in infrastructure projects in the city has pushed more commuters to the railways. Representation picA rise in infrastructure projects in the city has pushed more commuters to the railways. Representation pic

The city may boast of metro as well as monorail services, it also has uber, ola and various other app cabs literally at its fingertips, but the trusted local train remains the most popular mode of transport.

According to data released by railway authorities, the total number of train commuters has increased by 2.51 lakh on Central Railway (CR) and Western Railway (WR) in the last financial year. The number of daily commuters has increased to 75.93 lakh in 2016-17 as compared to 73.42 lakh in 2015-16. Railway authorities say this is a massive jump as the daily average commuters using local trains was 74.96 lakh in 2014-15.

mid-day accessed and colla­ted figures of 122 railway stations on Mumbai’s suburban sys­tem. While CR has witnes­sed a rise of 1.59 lakh commu­ters, 91,974 more people have started using WR in the last financial year. A railway official said, “Construction and repair projects are underway across most parts of the city. In such circumstances, trains offer the fastest route between home and office.”

Real estate drives boom
The number of daily commuters on the CR has skyrocketed from 39.15 lakh to 40.73 lakh in the last financial year. The recent rail rokos at Diva, Badlapur and Titwala indicated that punctuality of trains was an issue due to a rise in passengers along the route, which led to overcrowded trains. CR officials agree the number of commuters have increased on the Thane-Karjat/Kasara stretch.

At present the CR operates 1,660 services every day, but it still struggles to cater to the overflowing number of passengers. There has been a major rise in commuters on both the Main and the Harbour lines of CR. For instance, the number of average daily commuters at Diva has jumped from 82,728 in 2015-16 to 95,691 in 2016-17. Sources said in 2014-15 there were 78,581 daily commuters from Diva, so the surge in two years is quite high.

Similarly, at Badlapur and Titwala, the average daily commuters have gone up by 7,500 and 4,200 respectively. At Thane, it has gone up from 2.31 lakh in 2015-16 to 2.43 lakh daily commuters in 2016-17. Real estate plays a major role as it pushes people further north into the extended suburbs, leading to a rise in the number of train commuters.

Business drives WR rise
Meanwhile, on the WR, which has 1,323 services, there has been a growth in number of dai­ly commuters from 34.27 lakh in 2015-16 to 35.19 lakh in 2016-17. Borivali has seen the maximum number of daily commut­ers at 28.21 lakh as against 28.04 lakh the previous year. The commercial hubs of Lower Parel and Bandra too have seen growth in daily commuters. With BKC becoming a commercial and hospitality hub, Bandra station has seen a rise of 6,428 commuters.

Railway officials say with the Western Express Highway getting severely congested due to the ongoing work of Dahisar (E)-Andheri (E) metro rail, more people are opting for trains.

VAG Metro rail of little use now?

There has been a rise in commuters at Ghatkopar and Andheri stations, which connect people to Mumb­ai’s first metro rail service along the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) corridor. While Andheri station has seen a rise of 5,792 daily commuters, 7,453 additi­on­al people are seen at Gha­tk­opar. Dadar -- which con­nects both the CR and WR -- has seen a massive rise in daily commuters from 2,06,076 in 2015-16 to 2,11,888 in 2016-17. Ironic­ally, it defeats the entire purpose of the VAG metro rail corridor which was meant to reduce commuters at Dadar.

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