Good news for people who travel daily in local trains. During peak hours, most of us often end up travelling like cattles, with no breathing space, pushing and shoving each other to grab a seat that is if we are lucky enough to get one.
If not more seats, perhaps more space to stand in these compartments would give us some respite and make our commute a little comfortable.
The Western Railway (WR) authorities are working out modalities to make seats in the combination of 2x3, inside both First Class and Second Class compartments.
This will create more space for commuters to stand and giving them easy access to the door while boarding and alighting. According to rough plans proposed by the WR, two seats adjacent to the door — one on each side — would be removed along with the partition used by commuters to rest their back while standing.
After entering the train, a commuter has to go perpendicular to the right or left, to grab a seat. "Our whole idea is to create more space for people to stand with ease. At least two people can stand in the space that will be created by making these alterations," said a senior WR official.
Once this experiment is complete, the entrance to the seats would be V-shaped and in case the seats are full, commuters would be able to stand in the renewed gap created after removal of seats. The First Class compartment has 100 seats while there are 600 seats inside a Second Class coach.
“These changes would be made mainly inside the First Class compartment and second class general compartments,” said a WR official.
No changes are planned in the ladies compartments.
A suburban local train carries more than 4,100 commuters in a 9-car train, while a 12-car train carries 33 per cent more commuters.
Central Railway's (CR) general manager Kul Bhushan, who has additional charge of the WR, confirmed that such an experiment is underway. “This is just an experiment being conducted by the WR. If this is successful and feasible, then it may be extended it to the CR as well,” Bhushan said.
In the current super-dense crush load conditions, 14 commuters occupy 1sqft. Removing a seat on either side will create space for 150 more people in every coach. In 2005, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation had conducted a poll where commuters had given thumbs down to a similar proposal.