Why are commuters skipping local trains?

Apr 01, 2014, 08:00 IST | Dheeraj Bengrut

Railways are no more the preferred mode of transport, reveals a recent survey undertaken by the Pune railway division, conducted this year

Things are not looking good for the Pune railway division this year. In a recent survey undertaken by the division, the findings revealed a drop in passenger footfall, as compared to last year’s results.

Pune railway division offers two types of train services — suburban or local and long distance. The study shows local train passengers travelling within the 12 stations that fall under the division’s jurisdiction, have dwindled in the past year with a decrease of 0.5 per cent. As for the long distance trains services, the percentage of passengers has dropped by one.

These deteriorating statistics have surely raised an alarm for the railway board that is now planning to attract more passengers to keep their record intact.

Speaking about the reasons behind this downfall, Pune divisional railway manager (DRM), Suneet Sharma said, “There can’t be just one reason behind this decline. Workers, who come to the city for jobs, have decreased in the past year, which has ultimately created a gap in the unreserved section on long distance trains. Overall there has been a slowdown in the industrial sector. Hence the transportation of workers and officials have also reduced from one part to another part of the country.”

Commenting on local passengers under the Pune railway division Sharma said, “We are trying to offer better services and facilities to our passengers who travel daily by local trains within Pune division.

Even though the railway fares have increased by 2.3 per cent in the last year, the public still prefers to travel via railways, as it is safe and relatively cheaper than other modes of transport.”

At present, there are six local trains from Pune railway station to Lonavala, and 140 long distance trains operating daily. More than two lakh passengers board trains from Pune railway division’s major stations — Pune, Chinchwad, Daund and Kolhapur.

Harsha Shah, president of Railway Pravasi Group said, “The frequency of local trains is not so efficient as seen on the Mumbai route, but people living in other areas like Shirwal, Bhosari, Saswad have no option but to opt for other modes of transport. A ring railway system can be the best option for people living around or on the outskirts of Pune city.”

He added, “There is a need for trains to connect to other major cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Jaipur.

People get frustrated when there are train delays, no availability of reserved seats. The public wants improvement in train frequency and schedules along with security.”

Number of local trains from Pune railway station to Lonavala

Number of long distance trains operating from Pune station daily

Number of passengers boarding trains from Pune railway division’s major stations – Pune, Chinchwad, Daund and Kolhapur.

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