Once the new timetable of the Central Railway (CR) comes into effect on Saturday, late-night commuters who avail of the last CST-Karjat local will have to make it to the station by 12.30am, instead of 12.38am.
Further, the first Kasara-bound train from CST will leave at 4.12am, instead of the current 4.05am.
The change in the timings of the last local from CST will impact people who work in late-night shifts the most. This includes a number of IT, media and call centres professionals. The new schedule may even force many to spend more money on using taxis and autorickshaws instead.
Commuter activists complained that while about a decade ago the last train from CST would leave at 1am, this was then change to 12.45am and now to 12.30am.
“With more people working late, suburban services need to cater such commuters. Instead, authorities are cutting down on timings. This will not just affect people working late, but also our economy,” said Madhu Kotian, president, Mumbai Rail Pravasi Sangh.
But Narendra Patil, public relations officer, CR, said, “Changing the time of the last local by seven minutes will not make affect commuters a lot. A decade ago, only 1,086 services were operated. This has now been increased to 1,618 services. This leaves us with no time for maintenance during day. This additional time will be utilised for maintenance.”
The good news, however, is that the new schedule will bring relief to commuters who travel from far-off areas, as the CR has extended a number of services beyond Thane.
However, Kasara-based commuter organisations complained no trains were extended or added for section. “This is injustice for thousands of Kasara passengers. This entire section from Kalyan to Kasara is neglected,” said Jitendra Vishe, a commuter activist.