First Mumbai AC train has ferried 10 lakh commuters in less than 5 months
In less than five months into service (December 25, 2017), the city’s first air-conditioned (AC) train has crossed the 10 lakh passenger mark.
However, the AC local is yet to become popular and a preferred mode of transport among Western Railway (WR) commuters as average number of passengers per train is far less than its carrying capacity.
Carrying capacity of a single AC train is about 5,000 commuters, but the average number of commuters has remained 1,500. Passengers’ associations have blamed the poor frequency of AC trains for these low numbers.
To overcome this deficit, WR has planned to attach AC coaches to local trains. These services are likely to start from October.
WR has seen a growth in the number of passengers with the start of summer season. In February, 2.28 lakh passengers travelled in the AC train. But in March the number went up by 85,000 (3.13 lakh commuters) and in April it was 3.54 lakh commuters. The AC train service was started last December.
“The train is getting a good response during morning and evening peak hours. But considering the growth in the number of passengers, we are hopeful that the footfall will increase in the coming days,” said a senior WR official.
Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad, said that 10 lakh passengers using AC train is an indication that people want the service. However, poor frequency and odd timing of the services are the major problems.
“This is the primary reason for less number of passengers. The railways should also consider revising fare to make it affordable,” Gupta said.