Debate on Western Railway timetable

The Western Railway wants to know public opinion before it actually goes ahead in implementing the skipping halts timetable, reports Rajendra Aklekar.

india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 23:02 IST

The Western Railway wants to know public opinion before it actually goes ahead in implementing the skipping halts timetable and is planning to organise a day-long public debate on the issue.

“The existing timetable concept is more than 25 years old. In the past 25 years, Mumbai city has changed a lot geographically, mills have turned into malls, population has shifted to suburbs and new areas like Bandra-Kurla Complex have been developed.

We have found that the passenger traffic in areas between Bandra and Virar has gone up extensively. To cope with the changes and the growing crowd, we thought that we needed to change the train scheduling concept and hence came up with this idea of skipping halts timetable, which can clear crowd at a faster rate,” Vivek Sahai, Western Railway’s additional general manager told HT.

“A crowd of 800-900 passengers from areas like Bandra-Kurla Complex gathers between departure of two trains at a station like Bandra. To handle such a crowd we need trains at a faster rate and the new timetable will address such problems. It will help us to increase more than 50 services. The radical changes in the new timetable will benefit many and will inconvenience some, but it’s an experiment and we want to gather public opinion on it” Sahai added.

“We plan to organise a day-long seminar sometime in December to get passenger associations and commuters on one platform. If required, we can have another debate a few days later. But there’s no hurry to implement the new timetable,” he said.

Meanwhile, even the Central Railway has prepared plans to implement a similar alternate halts timetable and was in the process of distributing feedback forms.

Sources said that many of the 20,000 commuter survey feedback forms were never distributed and the railway staff itself filled it up and submitted it. However, chief operations manager PB Murthy, the brainchild of the skipping halts timetable, said even if it is done in a few cases, not all forms can be tampered with. “Even if we take into account this, not all the forms will be tampered with, what will get would still be a fair feedback.”

Malad commuters protest

Malad commuters had organized a protest meet on Wednesday as according to the new timetable, all the existing Malad locals will be cancelled. Local MLAs, corporators and commuters attended the meet to protest the move.

First Published: Nov 22, 2006 23:02 IST