Will staggered office timings help ease rush hour in Mumbai local trains?
Will staggered office hours in the city that never sleeps see the light of day? mid-day lends its support to the WorkToLiveToWork campaign, which is trying to demolish peak hours and bring in a more comfortable commute for Mumbaikars
Are staggered office timings the answer to help Mumbaikars beat the rush hour? In the city, where on an average nine people are killed daily in train-related accidents, a recent campaign by an advertising professional, backed by the International Advertising Association (IAA), has put the focus back on changing rigid office hours, in a bid to scatter the commuting rush evenly and avoid morning and evening chaos.
The campaign, WorkToLiveToWork, started by Nandini Dias, a managing committee member of IAA's India chapter, urges Mumbai-based companies to implement staggered office timings for employees.
The morning peak hour is 8.30 to 9.30 am and the evening 6 to 7 pm. Representational Picture
"The objective is simple. WorkToLiveToWork is pitching for all employees to get the simple right to choose their own starting hours between 8 am and 11 am, and closing hours between 4 pm and 7 pm while sticking to a definite set of working hours between 11 am and 4 pm. The biggest reason for rush-hour chaos is that almost all organisations have similar timings. Infrastructure cannot improve itself overnight. But with flexible timings and enough firms participating, the rush-hour intensity can potentially disappear," said Dias, who has lost loved ones in accidents on the suburban railway network. Ramesh Narayan, president of IAA's India Chapter, said, "Instead of waiting for the infrastructure to be improved, which would obviously take a long time, Nandini's idea is as practical as it is simple."
"It would be a good idea to stagger timings for different sectors. Earlier, when Mumbai was an industrial city, factories and mills followed set shifts. This automatically staggered the crowds on modes of transport. Now, with it becoming a services city, everyone is rushing at the same time," said transport expert Ajit Shenoy of Mumbai Vikas Parishad. "We can consider IT services to have staggered timings. Also, if government banks and courts can follow two shifts, that too would help immensely."
Make a serious attempt
Former member of the National Railway Consultative Committee Subhash Gupta seconded the views and said a serious attempt needed to be made. "Central and Western Railways have their head offices at CSMT and Churchgate. If this idea is set in motion at these places, it will help in a big way and set an example for other undertakings to follow," he added.
Pledge support to the campaign on social media with #FlexiTimeSavesLives, or by logging on to http://www.worktolivetowork.com/
When's rush hour?
As per a Wilbur Smith report on Mumbai Suburban Rail Passenger Survey and Analysis, the peak hour of passenger travel on the suburban network is arrived at based on the hourly distribution of total number of commuters travelling on the three lines. The morning peak hour for the network is between 8.30 and 9.30 with about 6.32 lakh travelling in that period, while in the evening, it is between 6 and 7 with 5.87 lakh travelling in that hour.
6.32L Approx no. of commuters during morning peak hour
5.87l Approx no. of commuters during evening peak hour
09 Number of deaths daily in train-related accidents
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