Mumbai: Women can take local trains from today
Decision to allow them to ride locals between 11 am and 3 pm and after 7 pm arrives, but not without a political tussle
The bickering over allowing all women commuters to take locals finally ended on Tuesday, with the Union minister of railways announcing the approval, but with an apparent jibe at the Maharashtra government. In a tweet, Piyush Goyal said the Indian Railways was always ready, and gave the nod as soon as it received a letter from the state.
With a valid ticket, all women commuters can resume travelling via local trains between 11 am and 3 pm, and after 7 pm from today, October 21. They won't need a QR code, which is used by employees engaged in essential services, who were the only ones with permission to take the city's lifeline until all women were allowed.
Central Railway and Western Railway on Tuesday issued a joint statement, stating that railways was always ready and with the receipt of a letter from the Maharashtra government today, all women have been allowed to commute via local trains.
The essential services employees take a train at Kurla railway station. File pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce the decision and wrote, "I am happy to announce that railways will allow women to travel on suburban trains from 21 Oct between 11 am to 3 pm & after 7 pm. We were always ready and with the receipt of [a] letter from Maharashtra Govt today, we have allowed this travel."
Nod after second reminder
The decision followed days of bickering between the Union Ministry of Railways and the Shiv Sena-led state government, and a second reminder sent to the Indian Railways on Tuesday morning. The reminder, signed by Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, stated that all women with valid tickets be allowed onboard local trains and that a joint decision already taken in this regard was still pending.
Members of the Rail Passengers Association questioned the Centre for the delay in giving the nod and the public display of the fight with the Maharashtra government. "So, were modalities finalised overnight? The railways, it seems, was just delaying the decision because the central government and minister Piyush Goyal wanted to take credit for this. That is cheap populism and commuters suffered because of this," a member said.
WR Divisional Railway Manager GVL Satyakumar said the UTS app will also be opened to general women commuters at a later date, in a graded manner. Railway officials have said they have planned it well and have also opened additional ticket counters to handle the rush.
Chaos at ticket counters
Mumbaikars are likely to witness crowd and chaos at ticketing counters today, October 21, as the renewal of the season tickets is starting. As the season tickets were not in use for months during the lockdown, railways had announced that they will be stamped with the relevant expiry date.
WR adds 4 ladies specials
WR will add four ladies special, starting Wednesday. Railways is currently operating 1,406 special services — 700, including two ladies special trains during peak hours, on WR and 706 on CR. While about 3.2 lakh people commute daily on WR, 2.5 lakh travel on CR. CR is also reaching the pre-COVID-19 level in terms of running ladies special trains and number of extra coaches for women.
Checking at stns
. 11 am-3 pm and after 7 pm: No checking of women for QR code/identity card. Only tickets will be checked. Rest to be checked for QR code/ID cards and valid tickets
. Rest of the day: Everyone to be checked for QR code/ID cards and valid tickets
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