Why second AC local in Mumbai has commuters worried

Updated: Dec 19, 2018, 19:18 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

With the first local eating into 12 normal services, passengers demand that second AC train shouldn't affect regular services

Why second AC local in Mumbai has commuters worried
The first air-conditioned suburban train service was introduced on December 25, 2017. The introductory ticket prices, which were supposed to be revised after six months, have remained unchanged. File pic

With the second air-conditioned train coming next month, commuters fear that it will further eat into the time of normal services, leading to disturbing timetable. "When the first AC local train arrived, it ate into 12 normal services," said Ashish Marathe, a regular commuter. "This should not happen again. The services that will be introduced should be additional. Not everyone prefers or can possibly afford to travel by the AC local train or it may simply not suit their time."

Speaking to mid-day, a Western Railway spokesperson said the new train replacing the existing services was a far-fetched idea, as it was still undergoing trial runs and it would take some time to launch the services even if the train arrives next month. "We are making space for new services in the existing system. We will try our best to incorporate the new AC local services without affecting the existing ones. But it is too early to say anything now," he added.

The first AC local was introduced on December 25, 2017. File pic
The first AC local was introduced on December 25, 2017. File pic

Meanwhile, as the first AC local is about to complete a year since the day it was launched (December 25, 2017), its annual revenue figures reveal that about 3.5 to 4 lakh passengers use the services every month. A study of the sale of tickets, number of passengers availing the services and earnings show that a total of 40 lakh passengers have taken the train till date.

When asked whether the fares would be increased next year, a senior Western Railway official said, "The day the services were thrown open for the public, it was decided that for the next six months, the fare would be 1.2 times of the base fare of regular First Class tickets, and thereafter, 1.3 times of the same. But later the offer was extended till December 24, 2018." However, there is still no notification on a further fare hike.

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The official said the Rs 54-crore train was doing well with about 17,872 passengers using the services (12 trips) daily, which comes to an average occupancy of about 1,489 commuters per train. A large number of commuters have bought monthly, quarterly and even yearly passes for the train after a number of new halts, including Charni Road, Grant Road and Marine Lines, were introduced on its way.

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