With no end to flak from commuters, the central as well as western railways are looking at ways to improve the punctuality of suburban services.
While the comptroller and auditor general (CAG) remarked on the deteriorating punctuality of services on the CR, the WR has barely managed to cross the railway board’s target of 95% punctuality for 2016. Last month, commuters at Badlapur brought the services to a halt for six hours, demanding trains be run on time.
The WR has decided to speed up two Churchgate-Borivli and Churchgate-Virar trains by skipping the halt at Jogeshwari, Goregaon, Malad and Kandivli for each on a trial basis, to improve punctuality during evening peak hours.
“Skipping these four stations will save five-six minutes for each train. It will ensure all other trains run on time and also improve the running time of these four trains,” said a senior railway official, requesting anonymity.
The CR is also trying to curb failures of tracks, engine and overhead equipment (OHE) and improve the restoration time, in case of failure, by upgrading their staff.
The punctuality of CR trains has reduced to 83% from 87.1% in 2014-15. Five per cent of trains on the CR, at least 80 services daily, run more than 15 minutes late, according to the CAG audit report for 2016.
Akhil Agarwal, general manager, CR, said, “We are taking steps to improve punctuality of trains by reducing failures of track, signalling, train, electrical and engine. We will also update our staff on how to handle such failures.”