In bid to reduce the peak-hour congestion in the Mumbai suburban trains, Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) has proposed four-day week for office going Mumbaikars along with flexible work timings and option to work from home in its draft staggered work hour report submitted to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday.
For office goers in the city this could mean relief from exhausting travel hours, as their 5-day travel to office will reduce by a day, depending on the work structure and organisation. The report also mentions flexible work hours, work from home option, staggered week-off and office hours for different organisations.
Currently, both Central and Western Railways’ (WR) suburban trains carry over 70 lakh daily commuters, majority of them are office goers, students and businessmen.
The overcrowded suburban trains during peak hours, from 8am to 11am and 5pm to 9pm, are bursting at the seams, as they carry people double their capacity. Over 3,000 suburban commuters become victims of railway accidents every year, majority of these occur due to falling off the overcrowded trains.
The preliminary report suggests that industries and organisations, which don’t have direct public contact, for example back offices, information technology (IT), manufacturing, corporates and accountancy should encourage the employees to work from home.
This can be divided in four-day week at office and a day of working from home. The organisation can also stagger the week-off, for example some organisations can give Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday offs. Similarly, the reports suggests that with help of technology the corporates should encourage employees to work from home any one day of the week. “Such staggering of work hours and week-offs will reduce existing burden in the suburban trains. This can be implemented by corporates in accordance with their employees,” said senior railways official.
Staggered office timings were suggested as a measure by transport experts during the discussion on city’s traffic congestion as part of Hindustan Times Unclog Mumbai initiative in September 2014.
The 50page report will soon be circulated among all stake holders including Central Railways (CR), Western Railways (WR), Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Government of Maharashtra and it will be also put up on railway website for public view.