Mumbai: 'Staggered office timings, a welcome move,' feel experts

Updated: Jul 07, 2020, 07:50 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

Transport experts also call for innovative ways to ensure social distancing is maintained in public transport

With the staggered timings in place, social distancing should be easy to maintain in public transport. File pic/Satej Shinde
With the staggered timings in place, social distancing should be easy to maintain in public transport. File pic/Satej Shinde

Experts on Monday welcomed the BMC's move to introduce staggered office timings and said that they should be supplemented by innovative ways to augment public transport as social distancing will be the new normal in the days to come.

mid-day on Monday was the first to break the story on how the civic body was working on a plan to stagger office timings to decongest local trains in Mumbai.

Senior transport expert Raxit Sheth said, "Staggered timings is a welcome move, but should be supplemented using existing technology already available with the Railways. Commuters can be allocated coaches and seats through this. This will automatically resolve a number of issues like bogus ID/fake or unwanted e-passes as they could be traced using the linked mobile numbers. Also, it is a common trend for coaches near entry/exit gates and staircases/elevators to get more congested, as one boards the train quickly and does not tend to walk on the platform."

Experts are asking all government departments to implement staggered timings. File pic/Bipin Kokate
Experts are asking all government departments to implement staggered timings. File pic/Bipin Kokate

"Once all this is linked and commuters are allotted seat numbers, coaches will tend to have an equal distribution of crowds. This will also build a parallel database and help in crowd management," he added.

"The staggered work timings plan is a good and tested initiative. But measures should be taken as once this is implemented, train frequency cannot be lowered during what is known as non-peak time, as this would defeat the very idea. Also, since schools are not opening any time soon, offices can start working as early as 8 am," public policy (transport) expert Paresh Rawal said.

Ajit Shenoy of Mumbai Mobility Forum said, "This is a welcome move. However, not only BMC but all government organisations need to consider staggered timings. In fact, wherever possible, shift working should be introduced, for instance, in banks. Earlier, when Mumbai was an industrial city, most people worked in shifts. This staggered the load on railways. However, ever since Mumbai became a commercial city, peak hours for different sectors became merged, concentrating all load in a short span of time."

Jitendra Gupta of Mumbai Transport Forum also called this an excellent idea and said it should be implemented at least for all government departments if not private offices as it could be difficult there.

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