Mumbai: Close to 2.3mn passengers board local trains on Day One of restart

Updated on Aug 15, 2021 11:55 PM IST

No incident of crowding was reported inside the trains, railway platforms or outside booking offices on both lines as services for the general public resumed after a gap of four months

Ticket collectors check railway passes and IDs at CSMT. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
Ticket collectors check railway passes and IDs at CSMT. (Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
ByAroosa Ahmed, Mumbai

Nearly 2.3 million passengers travelled on Mumbai’s lifeline — its suburban train network — on the Central and Western Railway on Sunday, which was the first day of local train services resuming for all citizens, provided they are fully vaccinated and have taken their second dose at least 14 days prior.

No incident of crowding was reported inside the trains, railway platforms or outside booking offices on both lines as services for the general public resumed after a gap of four months. The process of issuing universal passes has also been smooth, the officials said. Railways has issued nearly 120,000 monthly season passes to eligible passengers in the last four days since August 11.

Approximately 1.2 million passengers travelled by local trains on CR and the rest 1.1 million passengers travelled on WR.

On an average, nearly 2.3 million passengers travel by trains on CR and 2.1 million passengers commute on WR every day.

Passengers, who travelled on Sunday, stated that the train commute will ease their financial burden.

Anticipating an increase in the number of passengers next week that could result in crowding, both the zonal railways will be increasing the number of local train services from Monday. Around 1,300 local train services will be operated on the WR as opposed to the present 1,201 services. On CR, 1,686 services will be operated, as opposed to 1,612 currently.

“I have missed travelling by local trains. I’m travelling today as it is a public holiday and the crowding will be less. I will travel all the way to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and back and enjoy the train travel,” said Aarti Jain, a resident of Vidyavihar.

“I am happy that my company got me fully vaccinated and I was able to get a monthly pass. I was spending over Rs300 every day to travel to my workplace in Andheri. There is no financially viable alternative to local trains for commuting in Mumbai,” said Aslam Shaikh, a Kurla resident.

Low passenger turnout was witnessed on Sunday. Railway authorities have stated that fewer passengers on Sunday was due to public holiday.

“Sunday and Monday are both public holidays, which is why we are expecting fewer passengers. No incidents of crowding were reported. General commuters travelling by local trains are expected to increase from Tuesday.” said a senior railway official.

Train services were suspended for the general public on April 15 due to the spike in coronavirus cases in the city.

A universal pass embedded with Quick Response (QR) code is being made available to commuters through both offline and online systems. After verification of vaccination certificate, a passenger can take a monthly season pass at the booking office of any suburban railway station.

By Sunday evening, 130,064 monthly season passes were issued to passengers on the suburban railway network. Of them, 87,875 passes were issued by Central Railway and 42,189 by the Western Railway, the officials said.

The Maharashtra police and Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel have been deployed at all entry and exit points of suburban railway stations to ensure no unauthorised entry is allowed at the railway platforms.

Railway authorities have also deployed special squads, consisting of ticket checking staff and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, for inspection of vaccination certificates and railway passes both by the CR and WR. Ticket-checking inspectors have also been deployed inside local train compartments.

Railway authorities have also stated that the process of issuing seasonal monthly passes has been smooth. The CR and WR are operating 617 railway ticket window counters for passengers that will issue monthly passes. Of them, 341 windows are functional on CR stations and the remaining 276 ticket windows will be on WR stations.

“The process of issuing railway passes has been smooth. No incidents of crowding have been witnessed either on the registration desk or booking windows. We are operating all booking windows on all the railway stations.” added the railway official.

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