Mumbai: Stations to be scrubbed of dark spots
Better illumination, safety and security, less congestion and improved passenger flow, all feature in a new Rs 10,000-crore plan to upgrade the suburban train system
You have nothing to fear, Mumbai Railways will tell commuters, as officials come up with a new design to upgrade passenger experience and make railway stations across the suburban network safer and easier to use for commuters.
Dark zones at railway stations, that are breeding grounds for anti-social elements, inadequate daylight illumination, and haphazard signage are some of the things that will get the railways' immediate attention.
The move is to get stations in sync with global design patterns followed by urban metros across the world. The new dossier recently finalised by the Mumbai Railways speaks of these changes for the first time.
The plan also includes working out a speedy evacuation plan for stations in case of an emergency.
The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is proposing to procure a loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for an upgrade of infrastructure in Mumbai by taking up Phase III of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP).
The Rs 10,000-crore Phase III includes four-lining of Virar-Dahanu Road section (61km), new local train double line between Panvel-Karjat (28km), Airoli-Kalwa elevated line for local commute (4km), new 565 local train coaches and trespass control measures at 22 locations on the Central and Western lines.
The latest dossier on the project consists of a new consultancy to study aspects like crowding at stations, footfall survey, simulation studies to reduce congestion and improved passenger flow. Key aspects like station illumination and surveillance, designing an integrated modern signage, have been included for the first time.
"We are looking at aspects that have not been looked at earlier like identifying specific dark zones in the stations since they instill a sense of fear among passengers about safety. We also undertake maximising daylight illumination with standard tools of software and lighting and recommend CCTV camera locations so that all major points get covered," a senior MRVC official said.
"On the signage aspect, we have called for consultants to suggest a design such that a first-time passenger should be able to navigate through the station to his desired destination, including buying tickets, boarding trains and exiting the railway station in the desired direction. This philosophy is being followed in various metros around the world," he added.
The railways also plan to set up commuter-friendly signage and illuminate the station uniformly to enhance safety
Mumbai stations cater to long-distance as well as suburban trains. "The signage should be developed in an integrated manner for a station after considering the important landmarks in the vicinity of the station, and connectivity of other nearby modes like Metro, Monorail etc," he elaborated.
On the speedier evacuation plan aspect, the official said that the consultant will work out the need and location of foot overbridges, their additional requirements, lift, escalator, inter-connection between them by the number and width of staircases such that there is speedy evacuation from platforms and overcrowding is avoided by way of removing bottlenecks with focus on making the stations disabled friendly.
Shailesh Goyal, member of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee of Western Railway
'The railways do not need to spend money on such things. Even if they keep their eyes and ears open during the zonal railway consultative committee meetings, all these aspects will be addressed. However, the dark zones part is interesting and there is truly a need to look at it'
Subhash Gupta, member of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee of Central Railway
'The railways should give priority to building elevated decks at stations. The MRVC has done it at most of large-footfall stations on Western Railway, but none on Central Railway. The priority should be to take them up at CR stations expeditiously'
No. of new local train coaches to be brought in
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