Noor Mohammad, 26, a senior executive at a multinational company, faces challenges every day — not at work, but on his way to work. He spends two hours daily driving to his office in Malad from his residence in Masjid Bundar, south Mumbai — a journey that should not take him more than an hour. But with incessant traffic snarls, especially on the Goregaon-Malad belt, Mohammad has no choice but to power through it every day.
The Goregaon-Malad stretch, one of the city’s newest business hubs, boasts of plush office buildings on one hand, but traffic jams, an erratic public transport system and poor infrastructure makes working here an unpleasant experience.
The Mindspace complex in Malad, which houses the highest number of BPOs in the city, has been built on land that was once covered with paddy fields and mangroves. But the greenery has given way to a commuter’s worst nightmare.
Chincholi Bunder is marred by traffic coming in from the Western Express Highway, SV Road, Mindspace and Link Road. Even travelling to nearby Malad railway station takes up to 45 minutes during peak hours compared to the five minutes it should ideally take. For those who live on the Central Line, travelling to Indian Oil Nagar using SV Road to catch the Metro to Ghatkopar takes at least an hour when it should not take more than 15 minutes. Rovin D’Souza, a senior cell centre employee, said traffic is the area’s biggest problem. “It is painful to just sit in traffic. There is no proper connectivity between railway stations and our offices. In addition, the roads lack proper pavements.”
The roads on this belt have several potholes making the commute disastrous for motorists. They also have several junctions with traffic coming in from all directions. Many of the roads either do not have pavements or they have not been maintained. In addition, these roads are encroached upon by hawkers and illegally parked cars that take up a significant portion of the road.
Till a few years ago, traffic snarls were unheard of in this area, but like most business hubs in the city, authorities have not been able to create adequate infrastructure such as bigger roads, removal of encroachments and an efficient public transport to support the development boom in the area.
Like Malad, the business hub at Goregaon (East) is also problematic. In the case of Vishveshwar Nagar, an industrial area that is slowly getting commercial, public transport is a problem. Rohan Kadam, 28, an accountant, said he has to walk at least 15 minutes from Goregaon station to his office. “We are at the mercy of autorickshaw drivers who refuse to ply short distances and hence we have no choice but to either get into packed buses or walk,” said Kadam.
For those working at the Infinity IT Park, it takes at least 45 minutes to reach Oberoi Mall on the WEH, a journey that should ideally take five to 10 minutes. Minal Joshi, who drives from Andheri calls it a tough choice. “I have to take my car because public transport is useless. I end up spending a lot of time, money and energy just waiting for the traffic to move,” said Joshi.