For the 33 lakh suburban commuters of Western Railway (WR) who plan their daily schedule based on the railway’s timings, the clocks at their stations are of no help. The clocks at many suburban stations do not work, causing commuters great inconvenience.
The railways maintains the same time across its stations and runs its trains accordingly, but the most punctual suburban service is yet to react to complaints of clocks that do not work.
Sometime ago, the WR put up digital clocks on each of its platforms, which commuters prefer, but many of them have not been functioning for the past few months. Of the six digital clocks at Churchgate station — one at every platform and one at the concourse — four of them are out of order since the last few months.
Passengers who are inconvenienced by the non-functioning clocks expressed unhappiness over the issue. “Earlier, when the clocks were working, we could know immediately whether the trains were running on time or not. But, now we are unable to tell,” said Chirag Dholakia, a Borivli resident.
Officials of WR’s Mumbai division sought to explain away the problem saying the contracts to maintain the clocks had expired.
According to WR sources, there were 248 digital clocks installed on suburban stations in 2008. They were fitted by a private firm, which was given advertising rights to run them. A majority of them are now out of order as the contract with company has expired and the clocks are not being maintained.
A WR spokesperson said the WR has not appointed a new agency to take care of these clocks because of technical reasons, though it had floated tenders in September 2011. “However, drum clocks (old style analogue clocks) are available at every station,” he added.
There have also been complaints earlier that different clocks at stations showed different timing.