There will be no change in seating arrangement in the new suburban local trains expected under the second phase of the Rs 5,300 crore Mumbai Urban Transport project.
While adopting best practices from railways across the world for the city’s new trains, the railways have refused to adopt longitudinal seating fearing a public backlash.
"The last time WR changed the seating arrangement and set up longitudinal seats (parallel to the length of the train as they exist in Delhi) in a local train on an experimental basis, some commuters had moved the court and it became a complicated process. We will not change the seating pattern," a top railway official.
The railways have ordered a fresh set of trains for second phase of the MUTP, which is being jointly funded by the Maharashtra government, Indian Railways and the World Bank.
The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is coordinating major railway projects in the city. MRVC managing director PC Sehgal confirmed there will be no change in the seating arrangement. "The seats will be better, but the layout will not change," he said.
WR did introduce three coaches with fewer seats in a similar experiment. The seat dimensions were reduced — instead of comfortably seating three, it now seats only two. However, it frees up more space for commuters standing in the gangway, and thus carries more passengers.