Mumbai: The Central Railway (CR) authorities are happy with the response to the air-conditioned (AC) suburban train services. However, passengers say they expect the services to be more frequent, punctual and a lot more affordable.
“CR needs to focus on providing frequent punctual and affordable and AC services exclusively between Kalyan/ Dombivli / Thane and Kurla / Parel / CSMT. The railway administration also needs to introduce more suburban services by adopting new technologies,” said Sriram Iyer, 37 of Bhandup, who is a frequent user of CR’s AC local services.
“Going by the records, Dombivli, Thane, Mulund, Kalyan etc contribute to the highest AC ridership and revenues of CR, but for regular passengers, there is a dearth of adequate services. In the morning peak hours there is one or two fast services, that too, with a gap of two hours, forcing people from Kalyan / Dombivli / Diva / Mumbra / Kalva to first commute to Thane and then switch over to AC services,” he added.
Lalitha Narayanswamy, 54, who works with a government organisation said, “I have been travelling regularly in AC locals from January 2020. It was the best alternative for us to travel long distances. But when the new timetable was introduced in March it created chaos as the regular train was cancelled. The new train introduced was from either thane or Kalyan and was double fast during peak hours, creating a lot of inconvenience for people travelling between Kopar and Kalwa.”
Lalitha, who is a resident of Kalwa, further added that while the prices of card tickets have been reduced, season tickets cost the same and are out of reach of the common man.
Asked about the protest of non-AC commuters against the AC locals on CR, Lalitha said, “While replacing a few non-ACserviceswithACservices, they choose the wrong train. The 8.20 am service fromThanewasbeingusedby hundreds of commuters for many years and catered to the crowd from Kalwa.